Patronat de Turisme de la Diputació de TarragonaDiputació de Tarragona
Terres de l'Ebre 
© Arxiu PNDE
© Mariano Cebolla ArxiuPNDE
© Mariano Cebolla
© Klaus Storsberg
© Arxiu PNDE
© Klaus Storsberg ArxiuPNDE


An impressive sight of birds at sea

The seabird group is made up of diverse families and species such as loons, grebes, shearwaters, gannets, ducks, parasitic jaegers, gulls, terns, auks etc.

Most species are adapted to life at sea, with inter-digital membranes, greased waterproof feathers and glands for getting rid of excess salt.

Traditionally, man has always benefitted from sea birds. The most obvious example being that of Chilean nitrate or guano, a substance which can be found along coasts frequented by these birds - formed mainly with their corpses and excrement - it is very rich in phosphate and nitrogenous substances, which is why it is used widely in agricultural adobe.

We have also made use of the feathers of some birds such as the eider, for sleeping bags or eiderdowns.

There is a close link between fishermen and seabirds: on the one hand humans use birds for detecting shoals of fish, and on the other birds make use of non-commercial fish discarded by fishermen. Many of these species also make use of resources derived from human activity, whether it is searching for food along the coast or from rubbish tips on land.

Even so, they are species which are extremely sensitive to everything happening at sea, especially seawater pollution by hydrocarbons. Their feathers become impregnated with oil which stops them from being waterproof, and so they die from cold, or they end up swallowing oil when cleaning themselves with their beaks and so die from poisoning. Some forms of long-line fishing accidentally trap birds which causes conservation problems for the most sensitive species.

The Park, in collaboration with Picampall and the Escola del Parc (Park School) have organized a boat trip especially for observing sea birds in their natural habitat. This trip starts at the Ebro estuary and goes approximately 6-7 miles out to sea. When the boat is far enough from the coast, fish are thrown into the water to attract the birds. The aim of this trip is to identify those birds which are more difficult to spot from the coast such as, parasitic jaegers, gannets or shearwaters as well as more common birds like Audouin’s gull, the yellow-legged gull or the tern.

Sunday 27th April, from 9 to 14 h.
An activity for over 18s. Limited places.
Registration and information: +34 977 482 181