Conservation of Falco vespertinus in the Pannonian Region (LIFE05 NAT/H/000122)
Magyar  |  English  |  Românã
Privacy Policy  |  Imprint  |  Contact
Login
username
password
loginregisterpassword
LIFE project  :  red-footed falcon  :  monitoring  :  downloads  :  links  :  gallery  :  mailing list  :  birds with satellite tags
Latest news
Good news has arrived from nearly all regions from Hungary! Record number of Red-footed Falcons commenced their breeding, with moth clutches being 4 egg strong, only a handful of nests contain 3 or 2 eggs. The Vásárhelyi Plains area set a new standard in breeding density, as more than 120 pairs are currently in the early stages of breeding in a mere 12 000 ha puszta area, a number that doubles that of previous years. (2011/06/24)
Red-footed Falcons arrived to their breeding sites in Serbia and Hungary in the past couple of days. Some of the first birds to arrive already were marked in previous years with colour rings making their identification possible. (2011/05/25)
Although the Hungarian-Romanian Red-footed Falcon LIFE program ended in 2009, the staff carried out the necessary maintenance works in the scope of the After LIFE program. (2011/05/04)
The kick-off meeting of the project aiming to conserve the Roller and the Red-footed Falcon was held on the 11th of February 2011 in the Hotel Royal of Senta, Serbia. (2011/02/15)
The number of downloads: 1033209
Latest update: 2012/06/10
next 4 >>  
Setting new standards in count numbers…
MME - Solt Szabolcs (2011/06/24)

Good news has arrived from nearly all regions from Hungary! Record number of Red-footed Falcons commenced their breeding, with moth clutches being 4 egg strong, only a handful of nests contain 3 or 2 eggs. The Vásárhelyi Plains area set a new standard in breeding density, as more than 120 pairs are currently in the early stages of breeding in a mere 12 000 ha puszta area, a number that doubles that of previous years.

Newly hatched Red-footed Falcon nestlings (Photo: Szabolcs Solt)

Newly hatched Red-footed Falcon nestlings (Photo: Szabolcs Solt)




Newly hatched Kestrel nestlings (Photo: Szabolcs Solt)

Newly hatched Kestrel nestlings (Photo: Szabolcs Solt)

Here they come…
MME - Solt Szabolcs (2011/05/25)

Red-footed Falcons arrived to their breeding sites in Serbia and Hungary in the past couple of days. Some of the first birds to arrive already were marked in previous years with colour rings making their identification possible. These early arrivers may decide to move on in search of better breeding territories in case the breeding or foraging sites are in unsatisfactory condition. They may roam around within the Carpathian Basin and beyond for over a month before they find the place they wish to raise their offspring. This year, the high ground water levels caused by the unusually high winter precipitation may have mislead the birds, in some cases the foraging habitats were completely underwater, while some nesting sites have suffered from the small temporary lakes they were standing in.

Trees with nest-boxes falling due to extremely high water levels (Photo: Szabolcs Solt)

Trees with nest-boxes falling due to extremely high water levels (Photo: Szabolcs Solt)



Early monitoring activities at this colony were difficult albeit adventurous, as the water level was too high even for regular rubber boots. Nearly half of the nest boxes had to be re-placed.

60-70 cm deep water under a colony in May (Photo: Szabolcs Solt)

60-70 cm deep water under a colony in May (Photo: Szabolcs Solt)



Fortunately, the weather favourable later in the season indicated by the fact that we found above average clutch sizes for kestrels (5-8 eggs) and for Long-eared Owls (7-9 eggs). Surprisingly large number of Red-footed Falcon pairs also started occupying the boxes.

 

Female Red-footed Falcon waiting for her mate at a newly occupied nest-box (Photos: Gábor Balogh and Szabolcs Solt)

Female Red-footed Falcon waiting for her mate at a newly occupied nest-box (Photos: Gábor Balogh and Szabolcs Solt)



Those who came home… (Photos: Gábor Balogh and Szabolcs Solt)

Those who came home… (Photos: Gábor Balogh and Szabolcs Solt)



Those who came home… (Photos: Gábor Balogh and Szabolcs Solt)

Those who came home… (Photos: Gábor Balogh and Szabolcs Solt)



We also spotted „Tihamér”, a bird fitted with a geolocator in 2009. Hopefully we will be able to trap him and download the highly valuable data obtained by the little sensor attached to his back.
 
Spring maintenance work at artificial colonies
Nagy Attila (Milvus Group) and Solt Szabolcs (MME) (2011/05/04)

Although the Hungarian-Romanian Red-footed Falcon LIFE program ended in 2009, the staff carried out the necessary maintenance works in the scope of the After LIFE program.

Renovating nests in Western Romania (Photo: Attila Nagy)

Renovating nests in Western Romania (Photo: Attila Nagy)



Red-footed Falcons, like all other falcon species, do not build their own homes, instead they occupy old nests of other birds. The Rook colonies, or rookeries are their favourite, however these enigmatic black corvids have disappeared from large part of their former distribution area. For instance not single rook has bred in Csongrád County in the past two decades. To help resolve the lack of nesting sites for Red-footed Falcons, over 3000 nest-boxes were placed out throughout the Carpathian Basin. These nest-box colonies, however these man-made falcon homes need annual maintenance.

Nest-box maintenance in the Vásárhelyi Plains (South-East Hungary) (Photo: Szabolcs Solt)

Nest-box maintenance in the Vásárhelyi Plains (South-East Hungary) (Photo: Szabolcs Solt)



These nesting facilities provide better protection against harsh weather conditions compared to natural nest however are not as „self cleaning ” as open twig nests. If used in the previous nesting season these structures are often filled with pellets and other unwanted leftovers making the boxes a safe haven for parasites and diseases. It is the responsibility of conservation activists and professionals to ensure that the boxes are not an ecological trap, but are warm and cosy homes of the falcons, by cleaning them out each year.

Kestrel occupying a nest-box (Photo: Attila Nagy)

Kestrel occupying a nest-box (Photo: Attila Nagy)



The original reason for the establishment of the artificial colonies was to provide nesting facilities for the Red-footed Falcon, however other interesting species have shown their interest in the modern homes provided by conservationists. Typically, kestrels, Long-eared Owls and Jackdaws breed in relatively large numbers in the boxes, and all are welcome to share the apartments. All these species commence their breeding before Red-footed Falcons arrive from southern Africa, thus the maintenance works often overlap with the early onset of the breeding of these birds. Encouraging is the fact that both Kestrels and Long-eared Owls have above average broods this year, suggesting that food is plenty in the hunting fields. We all hope that this season will better that of 2010, when low prey densities and catastrophic weather conditions interacted to produce a one of the worst Red-footed Falcon breeding success rates in decades. Anyway, we have renovated their homes and all is clean and ready, its only up to the birds from now on!

Long-eared Owl residence (Photo: Attila Nagy)

Long-eared Owl residence (Photo: Attila Nagy)



We are very grateful for all volunteers helping the maintenance works!
Project meeting - „Conservation management and animal health monitoring of Natura 2000 Bird Species”
(2011/02/15)

The kick-off meeting of the project aiming to conserve the Roller and the Red-footed Falcon was held on the 11th of February 2011 in the Hotel Royal of Senta, Serbia. The 15 month long project is conducted in the partnership of MME/BirdLife Hungary, the Bird Study and Protection Society of Vojvodina, the Körös-Maros National Park Directorate and the Kiskunság National Park Directorate, within the IPA Cross Border cooperation programme’s framework (total budget ~ 250 thousand EUR).





Initially, József Gergely- the president of the Bird Study and Protection Society of Vojvodina and the Serbian project coordinator opened the meeting followed by a short talk by Dejan Vujinović (IPA program coordination centre Subotica representative) whom indicated that over 70 cross-border project’s were launched altogether in 2010. On behalf of the Bird Study and Protection Society of Vojvodina Milan Ružić, while on behalf of MME/BirdLife Hungary Szabolcs Solt, gave a presentation on their organizations’ main tasks and obligations within the project. Participants later were informed on the history and previous results of conservation programs aiming to preserve the two target species on both sides of the border.

The two target species are both indicator species of the Natura 2000 network, and inhabit typical steppe habitats. The roller, one of the most colourful birds of Europe, breeds in tree hollows, however these natural nesting sites are seldom found nowadays in the puszta. Over 1000 roller nest-boxes will be mounted to increase the potential nesting sites within this projects framework in the Banat, Backa, Csongrád counties. The need for such active conservation measures is demonstrated by the fact that a two fold increase in the roller breeding population was observed in the Vojvodina region in the past couple of years, thanks to a smaller scale nest-box programme.
The other target species is the Red-footed Falcon, a facultative colonial small raptor occupying predominantly rookeries and other corvid nests for breeding. In their case 600 and 800 nest-boxes will be mounted in Serbia and in Hungary, respectively. However, preserving rookeries in their case is high mid-term conservation aim that is not to be forgotten.

Photo: Szabó Attila

Photo: Szabó Attila



Photo: Szabó Attila

Photo: Szabó Attila


Project participants will develop an integrated and standardized monitoring programme for both species; will increase public awareness on these enigmatic steppe birds through giving talks in schools and for relevant stakeholders all within the scope of this programme. Successful long term conservation of these two flagship species is only possible if precise scientific knowledge is accompanied by broad public support and awareness.

Photo: Szabó Attila

Photo: Szabó Attila



Photo: Szabó Attila

Photo: Szabó Attila



next 4 >>  
© Conservation of Falco vespertinus in the Pannonian Region (LIFE05 NAT/H/000122)