The second satellite transmitter mounted on a Saker Falcon in Romania

On the 1st of June 2012 a satellite transmitter was mounted on a Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), the second one in Romania. The event was attended by the specialists of MME (BirdLife Hungary) and the LIFE project management team, the employees of Transelectrica SA’s (Romanian transmission and system operator) Timișoara branch and employees of Milvus Group. This action took place in Banat region in the frame of the “Conservation of Falco cherrug in NE Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia” project with the aim of gathering information about the life of Sakers. More exactly, by following the movements of these birds, ornithologists can discover all the factors threatening the birds during their flight, the foraging areas they use and the specific areas where the juveniles migrate during winter. All these information are used by conservationists to identify adequate conservation measures, indispensable to stabilize the species’ breeding population.

The transmitter is equipped with solar cell, providing the necessary energy for the system to operate. It also has a GPS which localizes the birds during their flight by communicating with satellites. The data is downloaded on a computer every three days. This equipment is mounted on the back of the bird, same way as a backpack on one’s back. The relatively small size of the transmitter (22 grams which is 2% of the bird’s body weight) doesn’t influence the bird’s normal lifestyle.

The Saker of which the transmitter was mounted on, was named Thea. She is a juvenile female bird, weighting over 1 kilogram.  She has a sister of the same age, and they are the only Saker chicks known from Romania in 2012. Both chicks were ringed with ornithological rings.
Since the falcons do not make their own nest, in early spring this year Thea`s parents occupied an abandoned Raven nest, mounted on a high voltage transmission tower, where they laid eggs and started breeding. Due to the destruction of natural habitats from Romania, especially cutting of solitary trees from open landscapes, Sakers are forced to nest on high voltage electricity pylons. In the frame of the above mentioned event, employees of the Transelectrica SA climbed up to the Saker nest and brought down the two chicks for the ornithologists to put the satellite transmitter on Thea and to ring them.

Soon after Thea will leave the nest we will be able to follow her movements on the page of our project website.

We would like to thank the Transelectrica’s board and technical team for their support and for our colleagues from Hungary for their professional help.

Sisters – Photo: Socrate Adrianopolit

A first odyssey of a juvenile Saker – Photo: Marius Petrovici

The needle of the spring scale indicates over 1kg weight – Photo: Marius Petrovici

Thea with the satellite transmitter mounted – Photo: Luca Dehelean

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