If you are a fan of literature or poetry, you must have come across the mesmerizing tunes of a songbird, encapsulated in verse. From Burns to Shelley, every poet connected with the magic of the songbird. Unfortunately, we are not doing these wonderful creatures any justice. Researchers warn that millions of songbirds are getting vacuumed and hence, killed every year during the olive harvest in the Mediterranean.
These protected birds migrate from the northern and central part of Europe to find a solace in the Mediterranean basin during the winter season. They roost in their favorite place in olive branches during the night time. The harvest season starts from the month of October and continues till the month of January. The intensive harvest machines mercilessly strip the trees to get the fruit. The strong light of this machine dazzles the birds instantly. They can’t move and remain disoriented. That’s when they are sucked in the vacuum at an alarming rate. About 100 or more dead birds can be found in each of these harvest trailers. The impact is reported by the Council of Andalusia in their report.
2.6 million such birds were killed in Andalusia, Spain, which includes robins, warblers, wagtails, and greenfinches in the day, the birds are awake and know what is happening. They escape during harvesting without a problem, as per Vanessa Mata, the lead researcher. The blinding light and the confusion at night kills them.
As per Nature, the nocturnal harvesting is encouraged because the cooler temperatures make sure that the olives do not lose their aromatic flavor. But the cost of this is the death of 96,000 birds in Portugal, almost every winter. The director of conservation, RSPB, Martin Harper, claims that the farmland birds present in Europe have gone down by 55 percent within the last 3 decades. It’s just another example of how agricultural practices of today continues to threaten the bird population.
The population of Andalusia wants to stop this practice, but nothing will really work out unless there is proper legislation passed towards it. If it is passed within a few months, we can save many birds. After all, the clock is ticking, and once October comes, the massacre restarts.
Portugal, France, and Italy have not taken any specific action towards it yet.
Dr. Mata says that the local government, along with international and national communities must come together to measure the impact and formulate ways in which it could be stopped.
Let’s hope they find a way to do so. Fast.
IMAGE CREDIT: Pixabay