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Portugal: Leave the olives, save the birds


Things you likely didn't know:

  • Portuguese olive-growers like to harvest olives at night
  • Rare birds nest in Portuguese olive trees
  • Night harvesting of olives endangers rare birds that live in olive trees

According to the national Nature Conservation and Forest Institute, the noise and light produced by the harvesting machines disturb the the birds and could lead to loss of species.

As a result, because Portuguese law forbids killing any type of wild species during harvesting, whether nocturnal or diurnal, the night harvest has now been banned from October to next March. Farming organizations have agreed to the suspension to “further study the potential impact of the night harvest on local biodiversity.”

The study also concluded that diurnal rodents are being disrupted and killed by the night-time harvesting, but there's less sympathy for them than for birds.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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