For the first time since there were installed more than 40 artificial nest boxes in Western Romania, in 2012, one has been occupied by a pair of Saker Falcons. For the moment, the two falcons have just been visiting the nest and testing out the territory, but we expect them to settle and lay eggs there in the upcoming weeks. We will be keeping a close eye on them during this time. The nests are made of aluminium and installed on electric pylons over arable land.
At the end of each summer, juvenile Saker Falcons become independent from their parents and the majority of them leave their nests to hunt for food alone, travelling varying distances in search of feeding places that are rich in trophic resources. The falcons stay in the areas where they can find the most abundant food for different stretches of time, from days to weeks to, occasionally, entire winters.
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.
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).
Saker Falcon population was surveyed again in 2013 in the frame of LIFE09 NAT/HU/000384 'Conservation of Falco cherrug in NE Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia' Saker conservation LIFE projekt coordinated by Bükk National Park Directorate, Hungary. According to the summarised results, bad spring weather was not good for Saker Falcons.