Maia in Vojvodina

On the 15th of September 2011 the employees of the Milvus Group working at the Saker Falcon LIFE+ project (Conservation of Falco cherrug in NE Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia) took a field trip to Vojvodina, the northern part of Serbia.

The aim of this expedition was to find the place where Maia, the juvenile female Saker Falcon tagged in the western part of Romania, has been staying for the last two months. During this trip the members of the Milvus Group gathered new data about the dispersion, food and habitat preference of the juvenile Sakers.

Following the coordinates coming from the satellite transmitter, we were happy to find Maia together with other five juvenile Sakers. The field was mostly covered with alfalfa, and had linear sprinkler systems. The continuous and abundant irrigation flooded the galleries of voles and other small mammals, turning them in easy prey for the several hundreds of birds (Grey Herons, Great Egrets, Little Egrets, White Storks, and Black Storks) which gathered there. There were lots of gulls and corvids on the field, as well. It is a well known fact that juvenile Sakers use to rob other species’ p

reys, a phenomenon we noticed during our observations. The six Sakers gave us an unforgettable experience. They stood on the alfalfa field waiting for the egrets, herons and storks to capture voles, and then tried to chase them to make them drop their prey. Of course it wasn`t as easy as it looks, the Sakers had to do this trick many times in order to get some food.

This place is surrounded by tree patches, and based on the data sent by the transmitter we’ve found out that the falcons are using them to roost. These tree alleys provide roost sites also for other raptor species (Common Buzzard, Black Kite) and for several hundreds of herons, egrets and corvids.
By finding Maia’s favourite territory we gathered valuable information about the first period of life of young Sakers, just after they become independent from their parents. We intend to use this information to improve the living conditions of the species in Romania. Maia was in a great shape, which means that the territory assures enough food for the Sakers. This also explains the reason why six large falcons shared such a small territory.

Right now all we need to do is to be glad about the great news and to cheer for “our” bird.

Lots of birds perching on the sprinkler irrigation systems (Photo: Attila Nagy)

Saker Falcon with possible “victims” of robbery (Photo: Attila Nagy)

Maia with vole (Photo: Luca Dehelean)

Maia and her PTT (Photo: Luca Dehelean)

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