THE SECOND SEASON OF THE NEST RETURNS. AS IF IT WERE A SERIES FOR TELEVISION, THE SPANISH SOCIETY OF ORNITHOLOGY, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE CITY COUNCIL OF ALCALÁ DE HENARES, HAS LAUNCHED A WEBCAM THAT RETRANSMITS LIFE IN THE NEST OF THE WHITE STORK THAT INHABITS THE ROOF OF THE CITY HALL.
The website www.seo. org/webcamciconia allows contemplating 24 hours a day, the life of the storks that houses the roof of the City Council building. Alcalá de Henares considers the stork as “one of the strongest links between historical and natural heritage”. With the aim of combining care and knowledge, it has implemented measures such as the replacement of old nests with new ones and resistant platforms and the completion of the storks route through the urban center of Alcalá.
The municipality even has an ordinance that regulates the protection and management of the nests: the weight is lightened when necessary, always outside the reproductive period; artificial nests-baskets are placed where deemed appropriate; the chicks fallen from the nest or injured are collected and specific education and awareness activities are carried out.
The white stork is a protected species and the protection also extends to its nests, eggs and chickens.
In the urban area of this city, a World Heritage Site, not only live storks, but also other protected and emblematic species such as the pilgrim hawk or the kestrel, as well as a large number of sparrows, swallows, jackdaws, or swallows that overflow this spring the skies of Alcalá.
THE STORKS OF THE PARADOR
It has been two years since the Parador de Alcalá offers shelter to a pair of storks. From the courtyard you can hear the peculiar clattering and observe their routine chores. Located in the former Dominican collegial-convent of Santo Tomás de Aquino, its architecture is synthesized with the historical heritage of the center of Alcalá de Henares.
The presence of these majestic birds is a constant presence in the entire historical nucleus of Alcalá. Hence the town hall has signaled a route to unite the natural and cultural heritage of the city of Cervantes.
Colegios Street -where the Parador and the Hostería del Estudiante are located- becomes the starting point of this tourist route that follows the steps of more than a hundred stork couples settled in the main monuments. The route allows you to discover multiple nests, such as those sustained by the Faculty of Law, the Santa María Church, the bell gable of the San Ildefonso Chapel or those housed in architectural jewels such as the Agustinas Convent, San Ildefonso, “the Úrsulas”, the Caracciolos Convent, Santa Clara church, San Felipe Neri and the tower of the Cathedral.
To undertake this route and travel through the paved streets of the center of Alcalá, from Plaza Cervantes to the Plaza de los Santos Niños, good shoes and binoculars are recommended to observe the life of the Alcalá storks.
Once completed, the return will be comforting by reaching the starting point. There are two restaurants waiting for the guest: Especia, the restaurant of the Hostería del Estudiante and the one of the Parador, where the tradition of Castilian cuisine is merged with the author and avant-garde cuisine, without forgetting the references to the cuisine of Cervantes´ days.
THE STORK AND ITS FAMILIAR FIGURE
Few birds are as endearing as the white stork and few are as ingrained in traditions as this enormous trench that one day abandoned their mountain habits to associate with men in search of sustenance and protection. It is easy to see them in the nests anchored on the towers of the churches or in the light turrets or high places. This species had to endure in the last century a series of drastic changes in the landscapes and rural uses that led it to disappear in many regions and those that today -thanks in part to a change in habits– it is amazingly recovering.