I don’t know if you remember, but a few months ago I wrote a story telling you about the Environmental Association Vita Nativa (based in Olhão) and their ‘Alojamento Local para Aves’ (local lodging for birds) initiative, and how they were setting up different kinds of bird boxes all across the Algarve with the plan of giving any would be love birds a safe place to live and lay their eggs. They managed to set up 1,000 of these nest boxes from Castro Marim all the way to Aljezur. And I just thought, since it’s spring now (and I’m very curious) that it might be nice to do a little follow up story, and ask them how it’s going, and whether they got any tenants?

I was very happy to hear that it’s been a great success, and in many cases the species they built the houses for did indeed think they were up to scratch, moved in and are now busy raising a family.

At the Quinta dos Cochichos in Olhão, they found a family of ‘chapins-reais’ (great tits) that could start their own reality TV show, as they have an impressive ‘9 kids and counting’. But they aren’t the only tits on the block. There’s also some ‘chapim-azul’ (blue tit) and ‘chapim-de-poupa’ (European crested tit) in residence nearby too.

The birds of prey also seem pleased with the models of box chosen for them. Of the 4 nest boxes they installed on water tanks at the EMARP (Empresa Municipal de Águas e Resíduos de Portimão), 2 ‘peneireiros-vulgares’ (common kestrels) have moved in and are currently incubating their eggs. One of these little hawks has also moved into one of these ‘deluxe apartments’ at the wastewater treatment plant in Faro as well.

They also told me about how 2 baby ‘corujas do-mato’ (tawny owls) had fallen out of their nests in Cacela Velha. But instead of taking them straight to RIAS (Centro de Recuperação e Investigação de Animais Selvagens), that at this time of year are very busy dealing with lots of such cases, they decided to try something a little different. They installed one of their bird boxes very close to the old nest and placed the 2 baby owls safely in there. They monitored the situation carefully, and are very happy to announce that their parents came back, and the family of owls love their new home and it won’t be long before the kids start making their first flights.

Speaking of owls, just two weeks ago the first ‘coruja-das-torres’ (barn owl) took up residence in a box they installed on the land of a farmer from Algoz, Silves.

Vita Nativa are extremely pleased with the results so far and will soon be going back to Aljezur, Vila do Bispo, Loulé, Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António to see if there’s any surprises there as well.

Don’t forget that RIAS is looking for help at the moment to help care for other baby wild creatures that are turning up on their doorstep this nesting season. To find out more and to donate please visit https://ppl.pt/causas/rias