A team of BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria found the remains and the satellite transmitter of the Slovak Saker Falcon Slávka, whoarrived for the second time to her temporary settlement area (TSA) in Bulgaria. This time Slávka entered the country on 4 October and took the way directly to the TSA, where she successfully spent the autumn and winter of 2011/2012.On 31 October 2012 her last signal was received and, unfortunately, the worst was confirmed – Slávka was dead.
In 2012 the monitoring of the Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) in North-Eastern Bulgariashowed some interesting facts. There are just two winter records, which is much less than during the previous years.There are no indications this year about the existence of winter Temporary Settlement Areas (TSA), which were typical during the previous years.
A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed by Energo-Pro Grid and BSPB within the Saker Falcon conservation project in Northeastern Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, funded by the EU LIFE + Programme.
In the last two years, the employees of the Milvus Group working on the Falco cherrug conservation LIFE+ project expansively examined the suitable natural nests for Saker Falcons occurring in the Western part of Romania. The results clearly show that the lack of such nests is one of the most important limiting factors for Sakers to inhabit these regions. Falcon species do not make nests of their own, they typically use nests built by other birds to breed, and Saker Falcon is no exception to this rule. Unfortunately solitaire trees and small tree patches, which are proper habitats for different species of raptors or Corvids to build their nests, are widely missing from Western Romania. In these conditions they cannot provide breeding places for Sakers, as well. The South-western part of Romania, named Banat, is such a place, where the only natural nests suitable for Sakers occur on pylons of high voltage powerlines.
After the promising results the Milvus Group’s employees got earlier in the spring seeking for Sakers in Dobrudja (Romania), they decided to continue the search. The purpose of the quest was to identify unknown Saker pairs and thus optimal quality habitats for this species. Several artificial nests are going to be mounted on high voltage powertowers in the very near future and the more nests installed in places where Sakers occur, the better chances to be occupied by falcons. The lack of appropriate nests is one of the most important issues to resolve in order to ensure a stabile Saker population in Romania.