The glass panels of the stadium courts have so far been a hiding place for thousands of birds

Glass buildings in which the sky or trees are reflected, transparent bus awnings… are the focal point of death for birds, who see neither the building nor the structure, but rather a sky to continue flying or comfortable trees to rest on.

For this problem you calculate it It kills billions of birds around the world every yearadded to it now Transparent screens for padel courts. The spread of this sporting equipment, as it is an increasingly popular sport, has alerted rural agents, who have started a monitoring campaign to inspect them all and demand corrective measures, if they discover that the birds are dying.

In fact, padel courts already account for 20% of bird collision deaths. The environmental damage is so great that the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office is studying the case and wants to Requesting the obligation to take corrective measures For all conflicting infrastructures and buildings. But the Public Prosecutor’s Office focuses, above all, on the suits’ courts, because it believes that the growth in their number could increase their danger.

The Rural Agents Campaign is a role model

According to the prosecutor’s office, it will beThe crime of animal crueltystipulated in the new criminal regulations in force since March 28. Jaume Bosch, regional president of the Rural Agents Authority in Barcelona, ​​where more black spots were discovered, explains that the state prosecutor has taken an interest in the work carried out by the Catalonia Rural Agents Authority.

“He wants to export it to all parts of Spain,” he says. “Make the same inspections and corrective measures, and make them mandatory by law.”

In fact, in Catalonia it is necessary, in the case of sports equipment, to address any damage it may cause to the environment. But this is not the case in all societies.

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“There is also no legislation on equipment or other buildings, not even in Catalonia. It has to be enforced, because the problem is just being studied, but it is enormous.”

One of the main causes of bird death is collisions

In reality, Bird collisions are one of the leading causes of bird death worldwide. The measures are very easy to implement, as there are many glass manufacturers, both for buildings and stadium screens, that already include White plots with horizontal or vertical linesWhich makes the birds see that there is an obstacle in front of them.

A few years ago, bird-shaped stickers became popular, which later turned out to be ineffective because birds tried to penetrate them. Raoul Aime, responsible forRinging Office of the Catalan Institute of Ornithology“It’s about the law of the fist,” he says. “They will go through any area larger than a fist, which is why stickers didn’t work,” he says.

In the case of substitute courts, there is one Very economical and simple procedureLay a net of ropes thick enough to be easily visible to birds. This is the measure recommended by the rural agents to the Santa Margarida City Council and the monks when they learned that they were installing new padel equipment.

For environmental technician Josep M. Calaf, it was necessary to install it before opening the slopes. “They told us there was a risk and the best course of action for us was this network. It was very easy and effective.” In fact, they were based on verified data in surrounding municipalities, where they collected dozens of victims.

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Buildings, awnings, a lot of problem

If the focus is now on padel courts, it is because “we believe it will go further and therefore the problem will worsen,” says Jaume Bosch. But buildings actually account for 60% of bird collision fatalities. In Barcelona, ​​one of the points that was discovered to be the most dangerous is the Diagonal Mar point, which has a large number of points‘Newly constructed buildings, many with reflective glassPlace of passage of migratory birds.

Curtains, such as, for example, those The bus stopsis also a problem.

“The problem is completely unknown, because dead birds on the ground often quickly disappear into the mouth of a predator or into the buckets of cleaning teams,” explains Raoul Aime, who has been studying this problem for many years.

There are no exact numbers

In fact, this makes it very difficult to obtain accurate data on the number of dead birds in Catalonia. However, there is data from elsewhere. For example, the Ornithological Society of Elche, in collaboration with ecologists at Acció, presented a report that put the number of dead birds on padel courts alone, in the Valencian region, at about 70,000 in 2022.

At the international level, wherever comprehensive studies have been conducted, they give the idea that this is a catastrophe of enormous magnitude. “In Canada they estimate it at 25 million deaths a year, or in the United States, where it’s terrifying: a billion deaths a year on average,” says Amy.

Although there is no conclusive data and no scientific studies, Amy dares He described the problem in Catalonia as “very serious.”. For example, he followed a small building on Plaça Imperial Tarraco, in Tarragona, where he discovered the problem. After counting only 4 years in the months of August, September and October, the result was 375 dead birds, a number that may be more than double, “because the cleaning crew passes here several times a day.”

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The most common victims are Migratory birdsBecause they are not familiar with the environment and face a new obstacle, even though birds of all kinds are dying there.

“Among the victims we discovered 73 different species. Of these species, and this makes it even more worrying, 75% of them are protected species.”

That’s why ornithologists at the ICO are in demand Cooperation of councils and brigades To detect blackheads. “Another way everyone can help us is, when they see a dead bird, to report it to the civic science platform ornitho.cat. “This helps us not only to explain the problem, but above all to address it,” Raoul Aime concludes.

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