Environment

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The birds of the Torre del Codina Chapter 7: The hoopoe

 

The beautiful image of the flying hoopoe.
The beautiful image of the flying hoopoe.

 

> Listen to the song of the hoopoe:

 

The hoopoe on a hillside near the Torre del Codina.
The hoopoe on a hillside near the Torre del Codina.

 

The Puput, both in its popular and scientific name “Upupa epops”, is named after the stench their nests make during the breeding season and the foul-smelling liquid they secrete when they feel threatened. From the Latin “Put – Putere” (stink), the hoopoe is the bird that stinks and due to its bizarre appearance, it has been the reason over time to consider it a degrading and evil bird.

 

The hoopoe on a pole in the vineyard of Torre del Codina
The hoopoe on a pole in the vineyard of Torre del Codina

 

The hoopoe is an elegant, solitary and territorial bird. Every year he returns to the same place as last year. It’s about 30 cm. long, light brown, with wings and tail dressed in black and white stripes. When it flies along the ground along the sidewalks, we can see it with all its spectacular plumage and watch the ridge open as it lands.

 

The hoopoe flies down the road to the Torre del Codina.
The hoopoe flies down the road to the Torre del Codina.

 

Despite its former notoriety, the truth isthat today, the hoopoe is a bird admired by the public and popular sayings, often praised as a symbol of good weather: “When the hoopoe sings the good weather has come.” But as a migratory bird from tropical places, the plumage of the hoopoe is exotic and striking, and when the magnificent ridge crowned by black dots ruffles and spreads, the spectacle is guaranteed.

 

The hoop elegantly posing on my camera.
The hoop elegantly posing on my camera.

 

It is a bird that feeds on insects, earthworms and larvae that it catches with its long, pointed curved beak, which it uses to dig into the ground and hunt its prey. He left for Africa in the fall and returned in April. In recent years, due to climate change and global warming, it has been observed that hoopoes no longer cross the Mediterranean for winter. Nowadays, in many places near the inland counties, they are already seen in winter in places where they have never been.

 

Due to its food, it usually walks on the ground.
Due to its food, it usually walks on the ground.

 

The hoopoe is a bird sensitive to the plowing and destruction of areas and agroforestry habitats along roadsides and sidewalks. The misuse of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides is especially detrimental, as their diet is based on the existence of ecosystems that allow plant biodiversity to give life to all kinds of insects, larvae and worms.

 

The hoopoe on the side of the road.
The hoopoe on the side of the road.

 

In J.M. de Sagarra sang Puput wonderfully in the book “Els ocells amici” published by the Impremta de la Casa de la Caritat in 1922, this is an excerpt:

 

“De tots els nostres amics del temps de la florida, no n’hi ha pas cap com la puput, tan menjadora de cuquets, tan voltadora de vinyes, tan poruga, tan estrafolària i entretinguda, tan pintada de plomes, tan fina i llarga de bec, i tan delicada i silenciosa en el vol”.

 

Josep Maria de Sagarra

 

The hoopoe on top of the olive tree, where it nests in a hollow in the trunk.
The hoopoe on top of the olive tree, where it nests in a hollow in the trunk.

 

A reading in poetic prose of our and always great J. M. de Sagarra that we recommend.

 

The hoopoe flies with outstretched wings.
The hoopoe flies with outstretched wings.

 

Jaume Ramon Solé.

Credits: Images owned by Jaume Ramon Solé – La Torre del Codina.

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