New observation of Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) near an artificial nest box in North Eastern Bulgaria
On 16.10.2013 a team of the Life+ Project „Conservation of the Saker Falcon in North-Eastern Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia” (LIFE09 NAT/HU/000384) observed a female Saker Falcon near one of the nest boxes, installed in Dobrudzha by BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria. The bird was soaring by one of the tens migrating there Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo) and when the Buzzard continued its way to South, the falcon returned the opposite direction. The fact that active migration was going on at the place does not allow certain conclusion whether the observed bird was local or migrant, but in the same area a Saker Falcon was observed during the breeding season of 2013. The control check of the nest box itself in 2013 however showed that it was occupied by a pair of Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus).
The nest boxes, installed by BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria in cooperation with the Electricity System Operator Ltd. are aiming to ensure safe breeding sites for the Saker. In addition, the team of the Project „Conservation of the Saker Falcon in North-Eastern Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia” apply measures to improve hardly worsened feeding base of the falcon. These measures include providing help to the local animal breeders, as grazing ensures favorite conditions for the Suslik, which is preferred food of the Saker. In cooperation with Energo-Pro almost 400 electric pylons were insulated, which prevents birds from electrocution. This is in favour of the local people and business, too, as breaks in electricity supply will decrease in future.
During the last months, after an intervention of BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria and other conservation NGOs, large-scale destruction activities were stopped – establishment of the next in the area wind park of 95 turbines (http://bspb.org/show2.php?id=2816&menu_id=33) in close vicinity to a temporary settlement area of Saker Falcons during migration and wintering (near to the SPA “Durankulak Lake”) and destruction of considerable steppe area in SPA “Kaliakra” (http://bspb-redbreasts.org/bg/?page_id=71).
The new observation and the success achieved give us a hope that in spite of the difficulties, the Saker Falcon will find again a safe place for raising young in Bulgaria. And to leave the category “Extinct as breeder”…