Europe and Central Asia
25 Jul 2016

Cory's shearwater nest: livestream from the Berlengas archipelago

Cory's shearwater chick in its nest
By Joana Domingues

 

Since last week, it is possible to follow a Cory's shearwater nest on Berlenga Grande live on www.berlengas.eu/ninho-ao-vivo. The LIFE Berlengas project team set up a camera on the nest of this family to allow us to follow their daily activities live on the internet.

The mother laid an egg in early June and both parents incubated it alternately until the young bird finally hatched on 19 July. During the next few days, both parents can be observed while taking turns to feed the chick. The parents will feed the juvenile until the end of October, at which point it will fledge and leave the nest. This pair has been monitored since 2006, but it’s the first time that we can follow them live online.

Usually, Cory's shearwaters incubate the single egg that they lay each year and nest in poorly lit underground burrows, where it is difficult to see what they do. Luckily for us, SPEA installed a camera to monitor one of the nests. The camera is powered by a solar panel and connected to a GSM network, allowing it to transmit the images. The nest gets some sunlight from 3 PM to 5 PM, which allows the camera to broadcast in colour. During the rest of the day, the infrared camera broadcasts a black and white image. The activity on the nest reaches its peak at the beginning of the night.

 

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LIFE Berlengas is a conservation project aimed at protecting the habitats, seabird populations and endemic plants of the Berlengas archipelago by minimizing or removing their main threats. It promotes a sustainable use of the Berlengas Special Protection Area, especially regarding fishing, recreational activities and tourism. The project is coordinated by BirdLife’s Portuguese partner SPEA, in partnership with the National Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF), the Peniche Municipal Council (CMP) and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FCSH), with the participation of the School of Tourism and Maritime Technology of the Instituto Politécnico de Leiria. The project started on 1 June 2014 and will be implemented until 30 September 2018 and is co-financed by the LIFE program of the European Union.

According to LIFE Berlengas Project Coordinator Joana Andrade, "This initiative will certainly raise awareness about this species unknown to the public and will help people learn about the breeding habits of this seabird. It will allow us to see this couple’s young chick growing day by day at his home in Berlengas."

Cory's shearwaters

 

Cory's shearwaters are pelagic seabirds, meaning that they can withstand strong winds and rough seas, spending the majority of their life at sea and only coming ashore to nest. They are long living birds and are supposed to live beyond 30 years of age. We know that the female is at least 18 years old, since it was ringed in 2007 and was already a mature breeding bird at that time. The male may be younger, but is at least 11 years old.

Although this species can be observed all along the coast, the Berlengas archipelago is the only mainland site where it breeds. In 2011, the Berlengas population was estimated at 1000 pairs. Since the 1980s, the breeding population has been growing by 10% per year as a direct result of the creation of artificial nests and other conservation measures, several of which implemented by SPEA.

"This awareness action aims at showcasing the hidden treasures of this reserve. The LIFE project brings together several institutions and users of the area to guarantee the future of the island and the preservation of its values, for the benefit of both birds and people,” wrote LIFE Berlengas Project Coordinator Joana Andrade.

To know more about this project, visit www.berlengas.eu/en

 


Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.