Last week I was welcomed by Ricardo Brandão – walking encyclopaedia – at the Hospital of CERVAS, in Gouveia. He is the vet responsible for the treatment, recuperation and releasing of injured wild animals, besides identifying all the birds that dare to peep around him and being an excellent Nature guide.

It was wonderful for me to visit this welcoming, professional and respectful hospital, both of humans visitors as well as all the individual animals that need veterinary help. Mainly birds, which are more easily, and unfortunately, spotted sick or after an accident. I worked during the day helping with the treatment of kites, owls, storks, a blackbird, and many swifts.

As a bonus, John, enthusiastic volunteer, shared with me his greenhouse of aromatic herbs and other plants – common, special, rare – and I spent maybe half an hour touching and sniffing all. I bought 4 pots of goodness. The money of these herbs goes straight to the centre and to recovery.

CERVAS is a main artery of Nature in Serra da Estrela. In the whole Centre of Portugal, actually. They do fundamental work in conservation and recuperation of animals, doing, among other things, monitoring, education and recovery.

I saw so many wonderful birds in the hospital of CERVAS. Birds that had just arrived to the centre, needing veterinary assistance, birds already in recovery and almost being released.

This is a fundamental dimension of conservation: to preserve Nature, with all its habitats and inhabitants, we need to work at all levels, from global, to national, to regional and individual. Here are some of the individuals that I met: