“Migratory birds captured by the organisation Sociedad Ornitológica de Menorca (SOM) increase in 2023”.

  • This year the researchers have been able to capture more than 3400 birds using the scientific ringing technique, representing a small increase in the captures of migratory birds compared to the average number of captures for the whole project (1993-2023).
  • For the first time in Menorca a specimen of the eastern red-rumped culblanc (Oenanthe melanoleuca), a species not previously catalogued on the island, has been ringed.

The field work of the Study of bird migration through the Mediterranean on the Isla del Aire, carried out by the environmental organisation Societat Ornitològica de Menorca (SOM) and which this year has been supported by Menorca Preservation, has come to an end. This is an ornithological and environmental research project that has been implemented on the island for 30 years, based on the technique of scientific bird ringing to obtain rigorous data on the passage of migratory passerine species as they cross the Mediterranean Sea, from Africa to Europe, as they pass through Menorca. One of the main objectives is to deepen our knowledge of the importance of the small islands found on these crossings for the survival of millions of these migratory birds.

In this year’s campaign, the researchers were able to capture more than 3400 birds belonging to 59 migratory species using this technique, a figure that represents a small increase in the number of migrant birds captured compared to the average number of captures in previous years.

On the other hand, milestones of this campaign include the capture of new species such as a specimen of the eastern red culblanc (Oenanthe melanoleuca), the first capture of this species on the Isla del Aire, and in Menorca. In addition, other species catalogued by the Spanish Ornithological Society’s (SEO) rarities committee as rare and uncommon birds have also been ringed. This is the case of the warbler (curruca curruca) and the black-winged warbler (curruca cantillans albistriata).

In addition, more than 20 volunteers, including ringers and helpers, from different parts of Spain have joined the campaign, together with some volunteers from Great Britain.

The importance of climate for bird migration is extremely important. On the one hand, climate change affects all migratory birds in general, and on the other hand, strong winds and storms during migration affect their survival. In 30 years an advance in the arrival date of most species has been detected, presumably due to the lack of food in the wintering areas south of the Sahara. The difficult adaptation to this new reality may mean the death of many specimens.

Raül Escandell, Project Coordinator – SOM Menorca

We will have to wait until the end of the summer to consult the project report where all the key aspects of the study can be analysed, but without any doubt, the monitoring of these data is of incalculable scientific value as it not only allows us to determine possible changes in the migratory phenology of these birds, but also helps to identify how climate change affects wildlife and, in turn, that of our environment.

It is wonderful to be able to support these local heroes and heroines who get involved year after year to collect data that is vital to continue feeding and enriching the databases of these birds. Their invaluable work not only helps us to better understand our habitats, but also contributes to understanding how we can be more efficient and effective in protecting and preserving our environment.

Rebecca Morris, Executive Director of Menorca Preservation.

The study of the Migration of birds through the Mediterranean on the Isla del Aire is a project carried out by SOM Menorca which this year has the financial support of Menorca Preservation and the Sant Lluís Town Council. In addition, it also has the collaboration of the Port Authority of the Port of Mahon (Ports de Balears), which provides the hut on the Isle of Air for volunteers and researchers of SOM Menorca, as well as the nautical company Merak Diving, in charge of providing transport for volunteers and all the material necessary to carry out the campaign.


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Una publicación compartida de Méteo IB3 (@meteotempsnaturaib3)

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