Ravens on La Palma

October 4, 2017

Common Ravens live all over Europe, Asia and North America, but we have a different sub-species here. Some biologists group our raven in with the North African sub-species (Corvus corax tingitanus) and others think the Canaries have their own sub-species (Corvus corax canariensis). Like other members of the rook-and-crow family, they’ll eat whatever’s available: carrion, insects, cereal grains, berries, fruit, small animals, and food waste. And they’re pretty intelligent about…

Read More >>

Wild canaries

Wild Canary in a juniper tree, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
October 22, 2016

 For some time I’ve been trying to identify the birds twittering in a Canary Islands juniper tree (Juniperus cedrus) at the Roque. It’s been frustrating because although you can frequently hear a whole flock of them twittering, they tend to stay deep inside the tree and it’s very hard to catch a glimpse of one. It’s even harder to get a photograph in order to identify them. As you can…

Read More >>

Things that go SKRAWK in the night

At this time of year in La Palma, you might hear rather unnerving Howie-howie-SKRAWK! noises in the night, something between a furious tom cat and a duck. You’re particularly likely to hear it near the sea. The first time I heard it, I wasn’t exactly scared, but I was rather glad that I was inside a solid house and the whatever-it-was clearly outside. I’m sure I’d have felt decidedly uncomfortable…

June 1, 2016
Read More >>

Tame birds

June 21, 2015

  I’ve mentioned the tame Canary chaffinches at Los Tilos forest three years ago, but they’ve got much tamer since. They were coming right up to us (as long as we didn’t move suddenly) and they’ll even eat from the hand of one of the park rangers. I also saw two other birds. The common blackbird came for bread too. But the robin was much more cautious.

Read More >>

Feeding Ravens at the Roque

May 23, 2015

  This morning the ravens came to say hello to my group of tourists. To begin with they’d eat food I left for them, then they moved on to eating out of my hand, and now they’ll jump onto my arm or shoulder, if I make it worth their while. Jose Luis Rodrigo Alonso took this great photo of the cheekier one on my arm, helping himself from the box…

Read More >>

Summer

  It must be summer. The plain swifts (Apus unicolor) are back at the Roque de Los Muchachos. These birds are native to the Canary Islands and Madiera, but some overwinter in North Africa. I don’t know where these ones disappear to in winter, but it’s always nice to see them back, zipping acrobatically around the telescopes.

April 12, 2015
Read More >>