CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: working for the conservation of endangered species
All the members of Birding The Strait share a background in conservation of endangered species. Therefore, it feels natural to us to integrate nature conservation in our Corporate Social Responsibility policy. This gives us the chance to take part of citizen science and nature conservation activities. And we do this for both local and international organizations.
In Birding The Strait we strive to exemplify an alternative and sustainable approach to tourism in Tarifa. We take this approach to our tours in Andalucia, Spain and Morocco. Now, more than ever, we are convinced that contributing to a new model of development is necessary in our world.
What do we do for Nature?
Laguna of La Janda Friends Association
Restoring one of the formerly foremost wetlands of the continent is the final goal of the Laguna of La Janda Friends Association. Founded in 1994, it is one of the most active conservation organizations in the region. We are active members of this NGO and collaborate with its board to support this exhilarating project. This is an essential part of our Corporate Social Responsibility endeavour.
Despite its complete transformation into an agricultural mosaic, the basin of the former lagoon still holds an outstanding birdlife. In fact, this area is of great interest for conservation in Spain.
Today, La Janda is one of the most visited birding hotspots in Andalucia and Spain.During our guided visits to La Janda we strive to find some of the most sought-after species in the region. In addition, we provide our customers further insight about the natural history of the region. Finally, we remark the efforts undertaken towards the recovery of its former splendour.
Environmental awareness: we conserve what we know
In the course of our field activity we also generate a considerable volume of audiovisual material. On a regular basis, we use our photography and video archive for the development of awareness campaigns. We do this both directly through our blog and social networks, and in collaboration with other projects.
For example, we developed a project together with the Environment Agency of the Government of Denmark. This consisted on the productions and edition of a series of videos about bird migration in the Strait of Gibraltar. These videos are currently part of the Skagen Bird Observatory Visitor Center exhibition.
Additionally, we frequently donate photographs to different conservation projects such as the Bald Ibis Project in Cadiz, or publications by SEO/Birdlife, GREFA and Fundación Migres. Likewise, our photos illustrate various PhD dissertations and other international projects.
Knowing that the photos and videos obtained during our trips contribute to Nature conservation awareness reinforces our commitment.
What do we do for Science?
eBird España: a perfect example of citizen science
eBird is the largest biodiversity-related citizen science project in the world. This project is managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. With more than 100 million bird sightings contributed each year by birders from all around the world, the data generated by eBird is incomparable. This is a collaborative enterprise with hundreds of partner organizations, thousands of regional experts and hundreds of thousands of eBirders.
Birding the Strait has been enthusiastically involved in the implementation of this platform in Spain from the early days. In January 2013, Birding The Strait’s founder Yeray Seminario and local birder Fernando Enrique, realized how much potential eBird had. They thought that it could be a great tool for the Spanish birders and scientific community. At that time, there wasn’t a list of birds of Spain in Spanish language on eBird. Surely, this had to be the first task. This way, birders from Spanish would start to use eBird. They contacted Cornell and started to work.
Shortly after the Spanish list was ready, came the observations reviewing task. They also started building and adjusting filters. After recruiting more reviewers they worked on the list of Spanish names of birds for the Western Palearctic. Later, the world. It took quite a bit of work and time, but after a few months the numbers of lists uploaded in Spain started to grow.
The team of reviewers kept growing and we had our first meeting in Pamplona, Navarra. Thanks to their work and the support of the regional NGO: Gorosti, eBird España was born. Shortly after came the integration of historic organizations that made eBird grow even more in Spain. Itsas Enara, GREFA, ANSE, SEO Birdlife and Sociedade Galega de Ornitoloxía, are some of them.
eBird España today
Currently, there are almost 10,000 eBird users in Spain. There are more than half a million complete checklists. This wouldn’t be possible without the continuous efforts of the fantastic team of eBird España reviewers. And of course, the support of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We are proud to be part of the history of eBird España, and to continue supporting this world leading project.
Below you can find our eBird profiles. There, you can see how we keep track of all the bird observations during our tours and excursions.
Massive Data Upload of migrating birds in the Strait of Gibraltar
In December 2018 Birding The Strait started a new initiative. We were aiming to increase the information on bird migration in the Strait of Gibraltar to eBird. First, we formally requested the information obtained within the Migres Programme to the Government of Andalucia. This way, we received a massive raw dataset. The data included the results of 2012-2016 campaigns of systematic monitoring. Following the advice from Cornell and thanks the effort of the eBird España team, the whole dataset was uploaded to eBird in April 2020. This included nearly 2.000.000 records of 75 species of raptors, storks and marine species! This has been a notable contribution both to the local and global knowledge on birdlife. Moreover, we believe this work will significantly contribute to nature conservation.
You can find more information on the eBird España website (in Spanish).
What do we do for our community?
14KM Tarifa: think global, act local
We are founding members of the NGO 14KM Tarifa. The mission of 14KM is to promote and preserve the natural resources of the Strait of Gibraltar. The association is constituted by like-minded multidisciplinary naturalists based in the region. 14KM participates at different forums, and often acts as a link between the civil society and the administration. 14KM has a special commitment with the sustainable development of the Estrecho Natural Park. To this effect, the association keeps a fluent contact with the managers of the natural park, sharing proposals for the improvement of the region where we live.
14KM has represented the Strait of Gibraltar and the province of Cádiz at the British Birdfair and annually developes various awareness campaigns.
Andalucia Bird Society
Birding The Strait is a proud member of the Andalucia Bird Society. This is the largest regional bird society in Andalucía. They provide bird watchers support and information. Their members receive access to monthly field meetings, which are led by professional bird guides. In addition, they get information about actual local news on birds and nature. Finally, the society releases its own magazine: “Birds of Andalucia” every quarter, which is sent to all the members.
Both Javi and Yeray are approved wildlife guides by the Conservation Board of the Andalucia Bird Society.
In addition to these projects, there are many others where we get involved and support as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. Birding The Strait either investing time and resources, or with donations in conservation of endangered species projects. One example is the project: Save the Montagu’s Harriers of La Janda, which main purpose is to sustain the decreasing population of this iconic species in the region. This is a great example of a local project for the conservation of endangered species.
We also regularly collaborate with the town of Tarifa, the Estrecho Natural Park and the Cadiz Tourism Board, among other institutions.