Flamingos maintain their loyalty to Fuente de Piedra
A year of scant rainfall and low water levels has not deterred the arrival of birds to Fuente de Piedra. According to the winter census, it has managed to attract 35,797 birds of 25 different species, 4,700 of which are flamingos.
The total number of birds at the reserve is similar to that of previous years with similar water conditions. However, the current number of flamingos is greater than anticipated considering the mild temperatures and lack of water. At present, only 23 centimeters of water have been recorded at the reserve.
“Experience from past years tells us that around 300 litres per square meter of rain must fall before breeding will start. The flamingos are currently short of about 130 litres. However, we experienced similar figures to this in 2006 and the flamingos that were here still reproduced. However, in other years this has not been the case,” explained the director of reserve conservation, Manuel Rendón.
Although breeding will depend on the rainfall in spring, Rendón highlights the flamingos’ capability to adapt to surrounding conditions: “Flamingos are birds that can adapt well to natural circumstances in terms of strategies and biological reproduction; they are long-lived creatures, in that they live for more than 50 years. They need water for reproduction but also drought for breeding. They can travel up to 200 kilometers in search of food.”
According to Rendón, the differences in rainfall and water levels are not necesarily negative, as it gives the Fuente de Piedra unique characteristics with respect to other European wetlands. “This had made the organisms that live here adaptable to different conditions.”
There are a large number of flamingos, while the bird with the biggest presence is the lesser black-beaked gull. There are also crane birds, ducks, among others.
Work carried out by the regional environmental department in Fuente de Piedra has helped to improve the situation of the flamingos. “When I started here, flamingos were an endangered species. Now they are protected, and no longer at risk,” said Rendón, who collaborates with other international reserves in Europe and Africa in order to protect flamingos.
Last weekend, Fuente de Piedra hosted a number of activities for the World Wetlands Day that included guided tours. The visitor centre is open daily.source surinenglish