Satellite-tracking device saved life of bird again
Experts of MME/BirdLife Hungary found a weakened Saker Falcon in Pest county on 8th October 2013. The bird was taken to Budapest Zoo, where lab examinations revealed that the problem was likely caused by endo-parasites. After one month treatment the bird was ready for the release. He was returned to nature on 8th November, near the town of Csákvár in a nature conservation area managed by Pro Vértes Public Foundation.
The adult male Saker was saved by the satellite-tracking device that he carried. The device was deployed in the frame of the project 'Conservation of Falco cherrug in NE Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia'. Colleagues of MME/BirdLife Hungary learnt from the signals arriving from the same spot that something went wrong with the bird, and they went to search for it.
Founding and saving the bird was especially important, because he was an adult breeder that started breeding also this year in a nest box on a high-voltage power line pole installed with the help of 'Magyar Villamosenergiai-ipari Átviteli Rendszerirányító' (MAVIR) ZRt. (state-owned company managing high-voltage eletricity transport).
National treasure of Hungary
The global population of this typical steppe species does not reach twenty-thousand pairs and their number is decreasing. A bit more than two-hundred pairs are breeding in Hungary and that gives the strongest population in the EU and the second strongest – after the slightly decreasing Ukrainian population – in Europe. Hungary, therefore, has special responsibility for conserving the European population of the species.
Saker Falcon is strictly protected in Hungary, its nature conservation value is 1.000.000 HUF (~3400 EUR)1 . Despite its rarity and the fact that it is strictly protected, beyond natural threats it still faces illegal human persecution (like Imperial Eagles, White-tailed Eagles and other species). In the last years, several Saker Falcons were shot or poisoned.
1 - This is a theoretical value forming the base for legal cases, when someone cause any harm (kill, injure, steal, keep, etc.) to a Saker Falcon or its eggs.