At Abadía Retuerta, we are interested in countless aspects concerning our estate: history, culture, architecture, crops… And, of course, its flora and fauna. In fact, our latest initiative is a bird guidebook featuring the most representative species living on our property.
Although grapevines have for some time been reproduced by grafting wood, replicating cuttings in nurseries or resorting to clonal selections, birds played an important role in their natural expansion. In fact, there is no better indicator of the perfect maturity of a cluster than a little bird nibbling on its berries and spreading its seeds to ensure the continuity of the species.
The Iberian magpie and the starling are the most voracious grape-eaters we have at Abadía Retuerta. They are two of the birds described in the guidebook we are preparing with FIRE (International Foundation for the Recovery of Ecosystems), an organisation that has ben working with us for 10 years to create environmentally friendly guidelines.
According to Jorge Meltzer, the specialist who is gathering the information, “Abadía Retuerta has a high diversity of natural and semi-natural habitats such as vine crops, pine forests, holm oaks, riverside and mixed forests, ponds, lagoons and rocks near the estate. The actions to improve the habitat that we have carried out with FIRE have made possible to have an abundance of birds within the estate”.
Upwards of 100 different birds. The census has identified 110 different species, including 15 types of diurnal and two nocturnal birds of prey. From the entire group, 50 of them —considered to be the most representative— have been selected for the guidebook.
This publication will provide a description of the characteristics of each species (features, character, habitat, customs, diet and, of course, the benefits it provides), accompanied by an illustration designed by ornithologist Alejandra Toledo. As in botany, the drawings help to show in detail the morphology of each type of bird.
In addition, two interesting lines of research have been developed as a result of fieldwork: the control of invertebrate pests by insectivorous birds and the control of grape-eating birds by raptors.
Many friendly birds. The great tit and the blue tit are large insectivores. Some of their favourite prey are the grapevine moth and the processionary, a moth that severely damages pines. We encourage their work with 150 nest boxes placed across the property. These are some of our favorite tenants.
With its unmistakable crest, colorful crown of feathers and curved beak, the hoopoe also keeps processionary moths at bay. We are particularly proud of the large population of hoopoes on the property.
Another bird we love to observe is the bee-eater, especially when it hunts in full flight. Wasps are his favorite prey, a species that is important to keep in check around harvest time.
Unfortunately, some bird species can become a nuisance, especially the ones that are too keen on our grapes. That’s when the booted eagles or the goshawks that inhabit the estate come into play.
Nature lovers. A living and properly functioning ecosystem is one of the best recipes for having a healthy vineyard and, ultimately, for making a wine capable of transmitting the personality of the place it comes from. At Abadía Retuerta we really enjoy nature in its broadest sense and this guidebook we are preparing is just a way of sharing with you part of the rich diversity that our estate boasts.
We hope that, very soon, our visitors can also enjoy bird watching and listening to the sounds they emit. As Jorge Metzler says, they are “the leading characters in the soundscape of the estate”.