Outrage over destruction of decades-old bird nests at Loulé market

A concerned citizen has sounded the alarm about the destruction of dozens of house martin nests, “some of which were at least 60 years old”, at Loulé municipal market.

“Mud and plastic birds” have been placed at the top of some of the market’s gates to “frighten and keep the birds away”.

SPEA, the Portuguese bird protection society, says it is looking into the case.

“We find this kind of situation, in which nests are destroyed due to building works or to clean public buildings, shameful,” Julieta Costa, SPEA’s conservation officer, told the Resident.

“Every year we receive complaints from outraged citizens, and we share their dismay. House martins do people a valuable service, eating large numbers of insects, especially the mosquitoes and flies that can plague a nice summer evening.

“Even if health and sanitation are the concern, there are gutter-like structures that can be installed under the nest to keep the ground underneath mess-free,” Costa added.

SPEA says that, according to Portuguese law, “it is forbidden to damage or destroy nests during the breeding season; and even outside the breeding season a specific permit from ICNF is required”.

“We advise anyone who believes they have witnessed an unlawful destruction of nests to contact GNR’s SEPNA division,” she said.

The Resident contacted Loulé council for a comment but did not receive a response at the time of going to press.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com