Nearly 50 years old, the little staircase is back

This is encouraging news for this endangered species. In disrepair for 50 years, the small staircase is today its big comeback in the Indre-et-Loire.

It was thought that hunting and intensive farming (large-scale use of pesticides) had nearly eliminated it from the French plains, especially the cereal fields of the Midwest. From 1980 to 2010, the number of copies decreased by 70%. This trend is also confirmed in Europe: Ukraine, Italy and Spain. [1]

And yet, the small staircase (tetrax tetrax) seems to be popping up again in South Touraine. About thirty men have been counted for 12 years. A surprise all the greater if this migratory bird is a species that is difficult to observe, especially because of its plumage which has the particularity of blending in with the plants.

“We went from 23 men in 2010 to 29 in 2021. The peak was reached in 2018 with 31 men registered in the sector. »

Clément Delaleu, in charge of species monitoring at the Indre-et-Loire League for the Protection of Birds (LPO), quoted by The new republic.

Photo: Shutterstock

Saving the little staircase

To protect this endangered area, a Natura 2000 area has been created in South Touraine. This Special Area of ​​Conservation (SPA) covers over 14,500 acres and is managed by the community. For several years, various agro-environmental and climatic measures have been taken to conserve the migratory bird. For example, alfalfa, a forage plant, is grown on the plots to encourage nesting and feeding of the small bustard.

But not only that, mowing is prohibited between mid-May and mid-August, while hot air balloons can no longer land on the fields during the summer. To respect the tranquility of the migratory bird, especially during the breeding season, some trails are also inaccessible to hikers.

Good news for endangered species. Moving on, here’s where to observe migratory birds in the best conditions?

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