Neither the State nor the autonomous communities fulfill their obligation. Most of the threatened birds in Spain lack conservation plans, despite the fact that administrations are required by law to approve them. The complaint appears in the new issue of the magazine ‘Birds and Nature’, edited by SEO/BirdLife, which raises the alarm about the situation experienced by the majority of threatened birds: only 14 of the 50 endangered species have the necessary state strategy.
Only La Rioja, Andalusia and the Balearic Islands have more than half of the approved plans, with Madrid and Navarra appearing at the opposite pole. Of the 14 birds that have conservation plans, three are aquatic (gray teal, moorish coot and white-headed duck), which will be joined by brown pochard in the review that is being prepared within the Life Teal Pardilla project.
Another seven are grouped in the strategy of threatened birds linked to agro-steppe environments: Ricotí lark, Eurasian bustard, Montagu’s harrier, lesser kestrel, Iberian sandgrouse, Ortega sandgrouse and little bustard. A couple of threatened endemisms also have it: iberian imperial eaglewith a joint strategy with Portugal, and balearic shearwaterBesides of osprey and the capercaillie. In the case of the latter, there were two plans for the two existing towns, one in the Cantabrian mountain range and another in the Pyrenees, but they have already been unified.
“In any case, there does not seem to be a clear criterion when defining which species are prioritized when developing these state strategies,” warns SEO/BirdLife. In addition, cataloged species with which Spain has an important international responsibility, such as the Egyptian Vulturehe black vulture wave Audouin’s gullcurrently lack conservation plans.
They are not the only non-compliances, because there are also them in the autonomous area with the plans endemic species. For example, the Canary Islands, which should assume conservation or recovery plans for two dozen taxa, of which almost half are Macaronesian endemisms, has only taken responsibility for two: the guirre (Canarian subspecies of the Egyptian vulture) and the Gran Canaria finch.
Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura, which should deal with the largest number of plans (for a total of 64, 61 and 53 taxa, respectively), tie with the Canary Islands in the “poor performance of responsibilitywith only 8% of the homework done,” laments SEO/BirdLife.
But these are not the “last of the class”: Cantabria and Galicia are content with 7% of the approved plans, despite the fact that they have many fewer threatened species, 14 and 30, respectively. Even further behind is Navarra, which has only approved 2 of the 39 conservation plans under its jurisdiction. And in the queue, Madrid and the historical territory of Guipuzcoa (has the competence in that area), which They do not have any approved plan.
On the positive side, the autonomous community that has best fulfilled its responsibility is, by far, The Rioja, with 73% of the species covered. However, being one of the smallest, it is also the community that has the fewest number of species to cover, and a good part is found in collective plans.
After La Rioja there are Balearicswhich has approved 62% of the approved plans (13 of 21); Andalusiawith 59% (22 of 37); Asturiaswith 53% (10 of 19), and the Valencian Community, with 42% (16 of 38). The other autonomous communities are well below this last percentage.
“There is a great effort from organizations such as SEO/BirdLife to ensure that these documents are approved and available, given that they are instruments written with the participation of technicians and managerssubjected to scrutiny by civil society and that They set the guidelines and obligations of the administrations in this function, as well as for the management of certain human activities in the areas of greatest importance for the species”, states the article
The magazine also includes a special report on the altruistic work of the thousands of people who do volunteering in SEO/BirdLife and its motivations. They are people who lead the great social mobilization of the organization: they plant trees, carry out censuses, clean rivers, fly drones, make nest boxes, raise awareness in society, travel along power lines, dig up pellets… The NGO assures that there are more and more and that the activities are diversified and expanded throughout the territory.
In the publication there are also large doses of birding enjoyment and learning, through an extensive article titled ‘With the ear of an owl’, which offers the experience of listening to numerous ornithophonies and soundscapes through QR links. Along with this, the magnificent winning photos of the ‘FotoAves’ contest, or the ‘Identification Notebook’, dedicated to the thrushes, blackbirds and rockers.
The editorial of this issue, titled ‘Social Blindness’, acquires a special poetic tone, under which the common bitterndeclared ‘Bird of the Year 2024’expressing “his regret at the blindness of society.”
The magazine also exposes the current situation of the bird flu, whose deadly global expansion preys on seabirds, and which has already caused thousands of deaths. In addition, it includes calls and news, and a memory of thirty years of activism and commitment to ‘Renewable Responsible’ energies, along with seventy years of activity in Doñana.
‘Birds and Nature’ Magazine: https://seo.org/revdigital/sources41/AN41.pdf