Ah yes spring is in the air. The breeze is warmer, the sun hotter, the water temperature is starting to rise and the migrations have begun. As mentioned in our last Chapter, indeed it is that time:

The Annual Migration of Sewer Covers and Metal Grates


You can feel the excitement in the air each time you get behind the wheel. Will this be the time? Will we find one today? Setting off on your journey, one is rarely disappointed during this season whether you are travelling short or far, on the highway or rural roads. What is it that drives the migration instinct of the Sewer Cover? Year over year they spend the vast majority of their time in place, awaiting their moment to recede into the orifice they once covered by 30 centimetres or more to the loud shouts of motorists who discover them in their migrated habitat and the sound of cracking suspensions and exploding tires. After a long season of lulling the motorists into a false sense of security, they are rewarded with each screeching, swerving tire and each fibrillating heart.

Predators and Conservation

img_4139While the Sewer Covers and Metal Grates have no known enemies there is a problem. Taking a page from the brood parasite Cuckoo bird, the Orange Plastic Barrier or “Usa Cualquier Cosa Naranja” as it is fondly referred to is often found in the space left by the migrated Cover or Grate. This can also be an interesting moment for motorists as you will see them popping up in areas seemingly overnight or from morning to afternoon almost before your eyes.

It is unknown whether the presence of Orange Plastic Barriers or the effect of global warming on migration patterns or both are the cause but in recent history the Sewer Covers and Metal Grates have become endangered. Researchers have precious little time to investigate during the short time between migration and rainy season and generally try to aid reproduction by restoring the habitats left behind during migration. But their efforts are clearly hampered by a lack of materials

“Usa Cualquier Cosa Naranja” completely inhabiting a former Sewer Cover habitat.

and workforce. What can easily be surmised by the evidence available is that the habitats of former Sewer Covers and Metal Grates are growing and being replaced by other temporary residents and the population, once renowned for their strength and nobility on the roadways, has diminished.

If you see a Sewer Cover or Metal Grate preparing for migration; recognizable by the telltale “Clang” call or by the presence of nesting materials in and around the specimen,

Hear the call of the Mexican Migrating Metal Grate:

tell an official immediately. Resources, if available, will be dispatched to try to preserve the habitat so that another can take its place on its return. Regardless, should you find a migration in progress, do swerve, brake and call out so that those around you can take note and do likewise and the regal Sewer Covers and Metal Grates will know they have fulfilled an integral part of their destiny until the season returns again next year.

If you happen to get a pic of a migration in process or a ‘temporary’ nest occupant, please Contact Us and send us a copy. We would love to feature them here.

Special thanks to a friend of LURE, Gregory, who sent us his example of a Ropé from our last chapter found in front of the Big Yellow House hotel. Fantastic!!


Drive safe everyone!