We would like to establish a permanent bird Observatory on the Strait of Messina to run long term observation and monitoring of migrating birds.
The Observatory watchsites are located on the continental side of the Strait of Messina, on the ridge of the Aspromonte highland (contrada S. Pietro, Solano, RC and Mount San Angelo), with a great view on the Strait and Sicily. On clear days the Etna Vulcan and the Eolie islands are visible from the watchpoints (see figures below). The fact that bird migration occurs across in spring and autumn and covers at least six months per year makes this site particularly suitable for an ornithological observatory.
So far there are no structures specifically dedicated to the observation activities. Birdwatchers, professional ornithologists, scientists and passionate people rely on the housing facilities of the nearby village of Gambarie (1’300 m asl) and commute every day to the observation points. In spring the field season starts around March 15, when the first black kites arrive and ends at the beginning of June. The observers spend the whole day outdoor on a natural terrace, 1000 m asl, with no shelters and sometimes is cold and windy.
The eco-ethology laboratory at the University of Pavia will run the project in close collaboration with Medraptors (Mediterranean Raptor Migration Network) and Ornis italica, two no-profit associations dedicated to the study of the bird movements and behaviour. TERNA , the main Italian company for the transmission of electricity, is also a partner since the first regular observations of birds in migration were carried out with the support of this company and TERNA is concerned about the conservation of birds.