The Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) promotes the XIII Census of Common buzzards (buteo buteo harterti) in Madeira, between April 7th and 8th, in an initiative that intends to contribute to evaluate the population of the largest bird of prey that nests in the archipelago.
The initiative is held each year since 2006 and aims to mobilize dozens of volunteers, who are asked to collect data on the sightings of the common buzzard, sometimes known as kites.
These birds, weighing between 110 and 130 centimeters, can be observed alone or in groups, flying, hovering, landing on the ground or, very often, on walls, poles and their hunting grounds. The species can be observed a little throughout the island, from forest areas to the urban centers themselves. With rodent feeding, but also small birds, insects and earthworms, the poisoning and electrocution in electric lines are the main threats that affect the blankets.
This census, promoted by SPEA, will take place on April 7th and 8th, simultaneously in Madeira and in the Azores. To participate in this census it is not necessary to have specific scientific knowledge, simply be able to identify this bird of prey. The census therefore appeals to environmental citizenship (citizen Science), proposing the participation of citizens in a scientific project that aims to obtain more data about the populations of blankets in the archipelagos.
Curious families and more experienced observers add up to more than 200 volunteers involved in the 12 issues of this census. Distributed by Madeira and Porto Santo, they have already covered more than 7,050 km of foot, car or bicycle routes in this initiative.