During the summer months, the European Roller covers the Mediterranean countries and part of eastern Europe with a beautiful range of blues: its blue plumage, typical of the family of tropical and subtropical birds to which it belongs, stands out for its beauty and spectacular colour. The birds spend the winter months hibernating in Sub-Saharan Africa, but summer is the breeding period, which is why they look for slightly cooler areas in northern latitudes.
But the population of European Roller (Coracias garrulus) is declining worldwide, mainly through the drop in natural cavities in which to nest and agricultural intensification. Given this situation, at Endesa we saw the need to contribute to the conservation of this kind of birds in a specific way for this species. Since 2000, through Endesa Distribución, we have been installing artificial nest boxes, mainly on electricity pylons that cut across open rural areas. This task fully settled forms part of our Biodiversity Conservation Plan.
Our project focuses on the Parque Natural dels Aiguamolls de l‘Empordà (PNAE), a natural park that is home to one of the most important nesting areas for the European Roller in Spain. In this park, the Associació d'Amics del Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l'Empordà, uses our support to carry out the field work and management of the nest boxes for the conservation of the birds.
The project’s good progress has made it possible also to extend its study area to the Montgrí, Medes Islands and Baix Ter Natural Park (PNMMBT). This entailed a great leap forward in connecting the meta-populations of the European ratchet bird, thanks to the provision of nests between the two parks, thus being able to reinforce and promote their genetic exchange in the reproductive population of ratchet birds in the Empordà. The main objective of this project, which started two years ago, as far as this species is concerned, is to take advantage of the positive impact of the presence of distribution lines in the two parks and their surroundings.
Thanks to initiatives like these, in recent years, the level of conservation of the species has improved in Europe, going from being an endangered species, to having a considerable number of pairs, 75,000 and 158,000, according to BirdLife International figures from 2015. A significant figure, which accounts for 40% of the global population.