Calendar 2020

Political borders are a human invention.

Erecting walls helps to protect borders, to enforce the law or defend a property. A border is an attempt to define and limit an indeterminate space. The border gives meaning to the pronouns “we” and “you” but at the same time, it gives the opportunity to look further afield ignoring them. There was a time, a brief moment in history, when another human invention, the Internet, seemed to make the wall obsolete. But, for many reasons, after the initial positive shock created by the Internet, the wall rose again and became even thicker.  Each other’s neighbour was held responsible for it, the real culprit for the rising of new barriers. All this happens being our feet grounded to the earth.

But birds have no imagination. They fly, migrate, rest and keep going without being able to see or understand the meaning of borders.

Since 2003, Coelmo has been celebrating human ingenuity, in the arts and technology, through the historical calendars. With the edition”Borderless Migrants” we imagined to fly a little higher still.

Starling (Sturnus Vulgaris)
The Starling are the most famous birds to form very large and organised flocks producing wonderful shapes during sunset. The Starling is a migrant bird coming from Russia, Germany and Poland. They migrate to spend the winter in the southern Mediterranean regions. Naples is in the middle of the route and it is an excellent overwintering site, as evidenced by the flocks flying over main cities squares and street during Januaries. The first study on bird migration, carried out in Denmark in 1899, deeply investigates on this species. They can form flocks of over 100,000 individuals.
January
Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus)
The Peregrin Falcon is the widest bird of prey in the family Falconidae. It was most used species in the ancient art of falconry. For such reason, it was much loved by Frederick II of Swabia, who mentioned about Peregrin Falcons in his work “De arte venandi cum avibus”, a treatise on ornithology commissioned in Naples in 1260 that describes the art of hunting with birds of prey. Their migratory behavior is variable, with the northernmost populations moving over long distances, while the southern ones became more and more sedentary. The northernmost populations travel as far as sub-Saharan Africa. In February it is possible to observe the nuptial flights that strengthen the ties in the monogamous pair. The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest living creature on the planet.
February
Alpine Swift (Tachymarptis Melba)
All breeding populations in Europe migrate to South-Saharan Africa where they spend the winter. The Alpine Swift can be observed in Naples from March until the end of summer and the places where the nesting colonies are easier to spot are the Maschio Angioino and the San Paolo Stadium. The Alpine Swift is one of the most aerodynamic species and can fly continuously for over 200 days without ever stopping for drinking on the water surface, for feeding on insects and they are able to sleep while flying thanks to a sort of “watchful sleep”. In their lifespan they can fly over 5 million km (125 laps of the Earth).
March
Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola Solitarius)
The Blue Rock Thrush, in Europe, is sedentary or a partial migrant, its movements are altitudinal or from the inland areas towards the coastal ones. They migrate mainly at night and also for this reason their routes are only little known. The Blue Rock Thrush was made famous by a poem by Giacomo Leopardi and it’s very fascinating to hear its singing at the poet’s tomb in the Parco Vergiliano in Naples. [In italian this bird is called ‘’Passero Solitario’’, literally ‘’Solitary Sparrow’’] The term “Solitary” emphasises the strong territorial nature of this species, which forcefully drives similar species away from their own territory. In April, it’s easier to hear it sing, especially towards dawn.
April
Goldfinch (Carduelis Carduelis)
The Goldfinch is a true ornithological icon of the city of Naples. Religious works are dedicated to the Goldfinch, such as the Madonna del Cardellino (1506), and numerous songs and poems since 1500 have been composed inspiring to this species. The multicoloured goldfinch is easily seen free in all the green areas of the city and sometimes, sadly, in small cages displayed close to the windows of Naples’ houses and apartments. The reason for it to be kept in cages (often illegally) is the singing of the male, which in nature can be heard mainly in May. Goldfinch nests throughout Europe and during winter can be found in Mediterranean area.
May
Audouin's Gull (Ichthyaetus Audouinii)
The Audouin’s Gull is one of the few endemic birds of the Mediterranean region. Colonies choose the most pristine islands and coasts of the ‘’Mare Nostrum’’ (Roman name for the Mediterranean Sea) to nest. In June the eggs hatch and after about 6/7 weeks the journey to the African coasts begins, from Libya to Senegal, where they normally spend the winter. In the Gulf of Naples there is an important colony of about 100 pairs on the uninhabited island of Vivara. The Audouin’s Gull often changes its nesting place. The Neapolitan colony is made up of individuals born or previously reproduced in Sardinia and the Salento region.
June
Scops Owl (Otus Scops)
In Naples’ urban parks, on July nights, it is easy to hear a monotonous and constant “keeooooh...keeeooh” sound, similar to an alarm that sounds in the distance. From this onomatopoeia comes the Neapolitan name “Assiolo” [as it is known in Italy] , a small nocturnal insectivorous and migratory raptor. The Scops Owl is widespread throughout Europe, but with two distinct migratory populations: the Mediterranean one, which is more or less sedentary or with limited movements to North Africa, and those from northern and north-eastern European countries that spend the winter in south of the Sahara.
July
Scopoli's Shearwater (Calonectris Diomedea)
Scopoli's Shearwater (Calonectris Diomedea) - The Scopoli’s Shearwater is similar to the Albatross. His “humanoid” and nocturnal singing gave birth to the myth of the sirens and the myth of Parthenope, the siren who found the city of Naples when she was beached. It spends the winter in the Atlantic region, near Brazil, from where it leaves to reach the most uncontaminated islands of the Mediterranean region where it reproduces. Before the anthropisation, a few decades ago, it used to nest in the Neapolitan islands. The shearwaters fly over the Gulf of Naples and can often be seen in August by the ferries that connect the city to the islands. Some individuals live more than 40 years and travel more than 600,000 km.
August
European Bee-eater (Merops Apiaster)
The European Bee-eater is the most colourful bird in Europe, where it is found from late spring and throughout the summer, when there are plenty of prey it feeds on (bees, wasps and bumblebees). In September, after the first thunderstorms, it leaves Europe to reach tropical Africa, bringing the beautiful season out of Europe with it. The islands in the Gulf of Naples are an important stopping
place during the long migratory journey, before flying across the Mediterranean.

September
Robin (Erithacus Rubecula)
The Robin can be seen in the parks and gardens of Naples, where it arrives in October to spend the winter. It is difficult to establish the places of origin because they migrate very often and their characteristics are not affected by the area in which they nest, and those who migrate can move from a few dozen km (coming from the nearby Apennines) up to more than 2,000 km (from Norway). According to popular legend, the red spot on its chest is a sign of Christ’s gratitude, who stained the bird with a drop of blood when it removed a thorn from his crown. The Robin can live up to 10 years, and can fly over 40,000 km.
October
Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax Rusticola)
Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax Rusticola) - The Eurasian Woodcock is very well known species in the hunting world. Its name in Neapolitan slang comes from the shape of the animal while flying, which with its long beak and arched wings resembles an arch with an arrow. The Eurasian Woodcock arrives in the Italian regions in November and most of the individuals come from Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway. The Eurasian Woodcock belongs to the group of water birds but shelters in the woods. It winters in the “Real Bosco di Capodimonte” and in the wooded areas of the “Collina dei Camaldoli” in Napoli. The Eurasian woodcock, in a migratory flight, can travel 500 km a day and fly for several consecutive days without ever stopping.
November
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax Carbo)
The Great Cormorant is a bird that typically winters along the Italian coast. In December the Great Cormorant can be seen in Naples, on the rocks surrounding the “Castel dell’Ovo” and widely in the stretch of sea close to the city. In winter, the Great Cormorant spends the night in roosts, which gather in sheltered places, such as the cliffs of the small island of Nisida, a place that is undisturbed also due to the presence of the prison, which prevents its exploitation. Some Cormorants seen in Naples come from Poland, Finland, Germany and France, their nesting countries.
December