We understand that the authorities want to destroy the agaves (pitas) in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata where I live because they regard them as an invasive species not indigenous to the area. Our local paper has an article about this today.
Opponents of this, including myself, see the agave as a symbol of the Parque Natural and Almeria. Also, I have observed that they play an important role in supporting local birdlife. When the stems of the pitas shoot up from their spiky leaves, they produce clusters of vivid yellow-green flowers. These attract hosts of insects which, in turn, attract birds. Even when the plants have died, the woody stems offer perches for birds in what is a semi-arid and mostly treeless zone. Birds which I have seen in agaves include bee eaters, little owls, shrikes, hoopoes and great spotted cuckoos.
My pastel painting of bee eaters perched on an agave in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata illustrates my point.
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