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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
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Monteiro's storm-petrel is breeding on the Azorean Biosphere Reserves


25th August 2016

Graciosa, Flores and Corvo islands are the only islands in the world where a small seabird species, the Monteiro's storm-petrel, is found to breed. Curiously, that tiny species connect together 3 of the 4 Azorean islands that are designated as Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO, reflecting their importance as natural sanctuaries.

During July, several surveys were developed by SPEA to monitor the main breeding colonies of Monteiro's storm-petrel. Different means were used to reach some of the most inaccessible colonies. Prospection work was developed by boat at night on Corvo Island or using a kayak on Flores Island, per example. In order to detect new colonies, SPEA's team together with some volunteers visit several places along Flores Island coastline. The most suitable sites were previously selected, allowing to define the best listening points which were sampled during the first hours of the night.

Seabird nest prospection and monitoring mean work at night using different tools and technologies. On Baixo and Praia islets (located off Graciosa Island) automatic recording units were recovered after 6 months of continue song recording. Mist nets were used to capture birds flying around the nest cavities for 5 nights in a row on Praia Islet. By the end of this campaign, 186 storm-petrels were captured and ringed and other one hundred were controlled. While during the daylight time, the team was busy with the nests monitoring. The mainly chicks were already hatched from the egg and growing well. Although some events of predation were detected, probably driven by the introduced Madeiran Lizzard. 

During the last days, the team presented to the local communities the main finding from the last 2 years of work. The LIFE EuroSAP project was presented together with its importance for the future of this small seabirds endemic species - the Monteiro's storm- petrel.

A special acknowledgment goes to Santa Cruz das Flores Fire Fighters Cooperation, Flores Natural Park, Mr. Carlos Toste (form Hotel Ocidental) and Ms. Sanda Quaresma, who were essential to the success of the actions on Flores Island. Great thanks to the Graciosa Natural Park and its Director who always full support our surveys from the early beginning, and to MARE/DOP colleagues by sharing their knowledge and field time with us. Finally, thanks to the Corvo Natural Park by the support they provided to the team.

Photo: Tânia Pipa ©




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