First of all there are the seagulls. Always there near the sea, with their characteristic screams. There are several different species of seagulls on Corfu and maybe sometime we will ask a biologist to sort them out for Green Corfu. For now we just have to say that they basically feed on fish and so keep company to fishermen’s boats, but as smart birds they have adapted to consumerism and now also feed on our garbage…
The Scops owl is one of the most characteristic birds of Corfu becaus of the sound it makes. At night these owls communicate through a very short, rhythmical scream, that sounds like a whistle. Sometimes you can hear three or four of them talking to each other, all with a slightly different tone and a slightly different frequency/rhythm. These owls are about 20 cm high, with a wingspan of 50 cm and hunt at night on mice, rats, snakes, frogs, toads and other little titbits! One night, a scops owl came into our house by accident and stayed with us a whole day! It’s an adorable creature with a very impressive gaze! That’s why in Ancient Greece they were associated with Athena, the goddess of Wisdom.
The buzzard is one of the largest predator birds of Corfu. They are about 50 cm high and have a wingspan of between 1 and 1.5 meters. They usually live alone but sometimes you see them in couples (probably during the breeding period). They eat almost anything, even carrion. What should be noted is that while they were very rare 20 years ago, their numbers seem to be increasing lately. One very plausible explanation is that some years ago the spraying of the olive trees with pesticides by plane was finally stopped. All those poisons probably accumulated up the food chain and poisoned the predators. Fortunately, things seem to be going better!
Swallows come to Corfu in February-March and stay until October-November. They are said to “bring the summer” with them! They nest on rocks but are not afraid of humans and also build nests in many houses using mud they carry in their mouth, as you can see in the first video.