When summer arrives, the European roller (Coracias garrulus as it is scientifically called) decorates Mediterranean countries and part of Eastern Europe with a beautiful range of blues: These correspond to its plumage that, because it belongs to a family of birds of tropical and subtropical origin, is remarkable for its bright colour and beauty.
The summer season is when it breeds. This is why this bird looks for areas that are not so warm. It then flies back to North Africa, where it spends the winter months hibernating.
For a number of years, the population of the roller has been globally in regression, mainly due to a reduction in the availability of suitable nesting sites and the intensification of agriculture. Endesa saw this problem as an opportunity to contribute to the conservation of this species.
Actions for the conservation of the European roller
The Coracias project, under the leadership of the biologist Cristina Fernández, began five years ago. Its objective is to make use of the supports for the power lines in an area where there is a shortage of trees with cavities, which is what this species requires for nesting sites. They are used to install nest boxes and this will contribute to the conservation and reproduction of the European roller.
The initiative's main activity is in the Aiguamolls de l'Empordà Nature Reserve (PNAE) and the Mongrí, Islas Medas Islands y el Bajo Ter Nature Reserve. A total of 77 nest boxes have already been installed and in 7 of them photo trap cameras have been installed that allow us to look out for predators of the species.
Results so far have been very positive: 58 nest boxes have already been occupied, most of them by European rollers, and an average of four eggs per nest have been laid. About 130 chicks have hatched and fledged. The remaining nest boxes have been occupied by other species also threatened or in regression, including Eurasian scops owls, lesser kestrels and common owls.