Rome Hotels Articles

June 2, 2010

National Park Called Rome

Seven hills, ruins of the Colosseum, Renaissance churches, romantic fountains, streets cafes, a hundred types of spaghetti… its time to add another characteristic to this list – “national park,” with 110 bird and 26 mammal species, 15 species of reptiles and fish and 6 amphibia species.

Falcons settled atop of the Colosseum, ducks feel fine at the former riverbed of the Tiber, and there are newts living in its nowadays riverbed. Rome has a unique ecosystem, like a true national park – in many ways, thanks to the absence of industrial premises and lack of housing in many of its districts.

Animals feel at home even in the city centre. There is enough food, the number of predators is minimum, hunting is banned. One could say their life in Rome is even safer than that in a forest – some animals are well adapted to the new conditions. Seagulls are among those, as its takes them only 10 minutes to get to Rome from the sea. They are used to building their nests by the water, and it seems they confused the city with an island amidst the ocean, and the tiled roofs of Rome with rocks. In their wildlife habitats they usually hunt for fish, but here their target is food debris swimming in the muddy Tiber. Ornithologists have countered at least 300 matches of birds having permanent residence in prestigious districts by the river.

Kestrel demonstrates its evolution against the background of the ancient ruins on the Palatine Hill. The same with pigeons, sparrows, crows, ducks, herons, kites, owls, eagle-owls and little owls. Villas Borghese and Ada are inhabited by toads, frogs, salamanders and newts. But unfortunately very often they become the victims of cars and other vehicles. Geckos, lizards and snakes, carps, crucians, grey mullets, eels, pesce gatto and spinarello… Rome has a rich fauna.

There are so many starlings, that sometimes it seems that the number of these birds is bigger than the number of people in Rome, especially near the Termini station. They live in the crowns of Italian pine trees. In past, when winter came they moved past Italy and further to Africa. During the last years they have settled in the Apennines, particularly in Rome, where its always warm, even in winter. In March – April they move back to their motherland – Russia, Finland, Poland. They feel carefree in Rome: green trees are like comfortable cottages excellent for winter holidays and rest from problems. Needless to say, the quality of food is excellent. There is abundance of insects, seeds and other delicacies.

At the same time, despite their small size, they can cause much trouble to the citizens of the Eternal city, mainly because of their dung. But let’s forget about these little worries and see the beautiful bird flight many people admire with. Its a gigantic piping swarm which is constantly changing its shape. It seems that the sky is studded with little flickering dots which are then united into one moving cloud. When April comes starlings leave the banks of the Tiber and head north, bringing spring to the lands they fly to.

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