After its presentation at the World Owl Conference 2017, the exhibition “Owls of Portugal”, by the photographers Artur Vaz Oliveira, Pedro Marques and Pierre Lemos, returns to Évora for public exhibition from January 20th to February 14th in the Palace of D. Manuel, Évora’s Public Garden (Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 12:00 a.m. and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.). This exhibition is organized in partnership by the Municipality of Évora, LabOr – Laboratory of Ornithology / ICAAM / University of Évora, STRI/ALDEIA, CERVAS and RIAS, and is sponsored by Altri Florestal. The objective is to raise awareness for the conservation of owls, whose presence is indicative of balanced ecosystems and of great biological value. It is estimated that some species show a long-term regression trend in Portugal – the barn owl, the scops owl and the little owl – which should be related mainly to changes in agricultural practices.
The importance of these birds to the balance of ecosystems is closely linked to their position in the food chain. As predators, owls contribute to the sustainability of their prey populations. Some species may also be used as auxiliaries in organic farming for the natural control of small mammal and insect pests. Owls are also important in monitoring environmental contamination as they accumulate a series of chemical pollutants which are biomagnified throughout the food chain. Besides their ecological importance, these birds play a very special role in our popular culture, being associated with many myths and superstitions. The exhibition associates to each image detailed information about the represented species. All images were obtained respecting the welfare of the animals. This exhibition will be the first initiative of a cycle of activities promoted by the LabOr within the agenda “Year of the Bird” that will culminate in April 2019 with the organization at the University of Évora of the International Conference Bird Numbers 2019 on the topic “Counting birds accounting for society”.