Category : Cangas de Onís


A few days ago there was a frontal crash against the windows at home, again! This time was a youngster Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major).

Lets count how many accidents there have been since the Spring began.

The first one having a collision was a Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) and I think, looking at the long tail, it was a male. Once we verified he was alive, we put our knocked out little friend on the top of a fierwood pile, just in case some cat from the neighbourhood came to visit us (they do it all the time, indeed). It only took fifteen or twenty minutes to our little guy to get well and go back to his aerial pirouettes.

Injured swallow

Injured barn swallow

After that incident, we decided to stick an old dvd inside the wondow, in order to avoid more crashes with the reflections of the light.

But three or four weeks later, we heard again a thump: a female Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) fell on the ground. We had a bad scare, it seemed she had broken neck or something like that, but fourtunately she was alright. Once again, we put our winged fellow on the top of the firewood pile, far from nosy cats’ claws and let her rest in there.

Injured female great spotted woodpecker

Injured female great spotted woodpecker

She needed more time to recover than the swallow, in fact it was only after half an hour that she flew to the neigbour’s balcony. She knows well this place: she usually steals nuts from there!

Female great spotted woodpecker recovering

Female great spotted woodpecker recovering

Well, there she was, perched on one of the balcony posts, waiting patiently for the daze to go away.

As we were saying at the beginning, the last victim has been a youngster Great spotted woodpecker. This time was against a different window which opens to a field next to the house, full of wandering cats. So, we decided to bring him into the garden and protect him from the cats and from the hard sun at this tiem of the day (yes, yes… belive it or not, we also have heavy sunny days in Asturias!) And what a fuss he made while we were moving him!

Youngster great spotted woodpecker

Youngster great spotted woodpecker

He was, definately, the one wo needed more time to get well maybe because of his age, who knows… He spent around one hour, hidden between some oak branches, changing from one to another with little jumps. Suddenly, he disappeared.

If, somtime, a bird crashes aginst your window try not to touch him too much, in order to avoid hurting him. If possible, place him in a high place, out of reach from cats and dogs and let him to recover from the blow. Most likely he will fly soon, as our little friends did! With some cds or dvds glued inside the window you might low the chances of new accidents. If you find a chick and looks healthy and well feeded leave him there: probably his parents would be around and keep feeding him even though he felt from the nest.

Uppsss… someone just “knocked” on the window again… let me check!


There is a proverb in Asturias that says “Marzo ñerarzo, Abril hueveril y Mayo pajarayo”, which means “in March nests, in April eggs and May chicks”. (Please notice that ñerarzo, hueveril and pajarayo are words from the Asturian dialect)

Well, it is totally untrue: around here, birds are in a non-stop “brooding mode”. It is true that this winter has been very mild, almost a toy, and this has provided the birds coming earlier into heat as well as with nests and broods. Moreover, we are in June and we have seen the second covey of mallards which, by the way, have a hard time keeping together their offspring.


A couple of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)


Some of them live in the Güeña River, in its way through Cangas de Onís, giving that the river is channeled. But they love to sniff around, even though they have to cross the road nearby as best they can. A few weeks ago we had to stop the transit trying to gather together a mallard family. We were afraid of them being run over and turned into sliced duck. What a beautiful scene we made, running after six little ducks… hopefully there was anybody filmming! I don’t know why people call “duck” to someone clumsy (at least in Spain)… what a way to run! When we could finally gather the family and

Finally we got the family gathered and we were talking proudly about our efforts with an old woman who had been watching us, when suddenly she drove us to ruin: “this morning she had ten or twelve chicks, I don’t know where they could be”. The only thing we could think about, with our hearts pounding, was hoping they had managed to reach the river. It so happens that we did not see them anymore, so our legs were extremely grateful…

Besides mallards, we have pinpointed a whote-throated dipper’s nest. They are said to be bioindicators who only inhabit rivers with high quality waters. And this river has them, no doubt, since they are frequently seen. This pair of dipper have raised the second brood of bioindicators and they are alredy looking for accomodation.

White-throated dipper

White-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus)
Photo courtesy of Ana Míngues Corella.


But barn swallows are the most remarkable case. In front of our home there is a stable, with its cows and all that stuff. The owner sais that they are able to raise three broods in good years and this is what happened this year: we’ve seen some swallows incubating the third clutch. They make the most of the heat inside the cowshed as well as of the food that cows provide them: an insectivourous diet just right next to their nests. With such attractions they can not say “no”.

Barn swallow

Four barn swallow chicks into their nest.


At the beginnig of the Spring you could see a few swallows but now they are everywhere. They fly at full speed, some of them learning to avoid obstacles and to take flying insects on the wing. At this rate, they will eat all the flies and mosquitoes in the area… good neighbours!!



Hello everyone and welcome! We are starting a new project with a clear objective: bring you closer to Mother Nature, showing you how you can contribute to her preservation by interacting with Her.

You can find us right next to Picos de Europa, in a place where Mountains and the Sea come together. Our experiences will be shaped by the forests that surround us.

lago Ercina

Oaks, hazels, chestnut trees, sycamores and hollies are close to our homes and they provide shelter to a huge variety of birds, insects, amphibians and mammals. We are delighted just going out and taking a simple walk!


camachuelo 2

Through our social networks we will keep you updated with our posts describing the incredible things that our little winged friends will be doing.

During the summer, we offer the families who visit Cangas de Onís and its surroundings two different workshops: one about birdwatching and the other about nest boxes. With the first one you will learn how to identify the little birds around us, while with the second you will learn how to build a fantastic nest box.

We hope that you find our project as attractive and fascinating as we do. In the same way, we’d be pleased to share with you the privilege of enjoying what we love the most.