60 artificial nests placed on high-voltage poles in southern Romania for endangered species Falco Cherrug

A number of 60 artificial nests will be placed on high-voltage poles in the south of the country this year, announces the Romanian Ornithological Society.

The first new nests were mounted on poles in mid-April, under a partnership with Transelectrica, in several locations in Dobrogea, Baragan and southern Muntenia. The measure is part of an international project for the conservation of the saker falcon (Falco Cherrug), an endangered species in both our country and Bulgaria.

“This conservation measure is necessary because, from observations made in other parts of the areal occupied by Falco Cherrug, a major limiting factor to population growth is the availability of nesting sites, as these falcons do not build their own nest, but occupy the nests of other species,” reads a press release posted on the SOR website.

The nest is based on a model used in similar saker falcon conservation projects in Europe and is made of aluminium, with a volume of 0.2 cubic metres and a weight of about 8 kg. It has a metal mesh at the base to prevent rainwater from accumulating, over which a layer of gravel has been laid for protection.

The artificial nest can also be occupied by other species of birds of prey, especially the common kestrel (Falco Tinnunculus) or the long-legged buzzard (Buteo Rufinus), the latter having its own nest made of branches inside the aluminium nest. Specialists have observed that these nests are also occupied by rooks (Corvus Frugilegus) and could also be occupied by the common ravens (Corvus corax), a species that lives in the Dobrogea area and whose nesting in such structures has been reported in Bulgaria by BSPB, partner in the Life for Falcons project.

“One of the advantages of these constructions is that they provide a permanent nesting site, as opposed to natural nests, which are periodically removed to prevent potential damage to power lines, an activity carried out by electricity companies outside the nesting season,” the source said.

At the same time, power lines provide protection against nest poaching, a major threat to many species of birds of prey, including the saker falcon.

In the coming months the action will continue in the same area, with artificial nest sites being placed both in and near Natura 2000 areas included in the LIFE for Falcons project.

The project ‘Securing the recovery of the endangered Saker Falcon in Bulgaria and Southern Romania’ spans over 5 years and is co-financed by the LIFE Programme of the European Union.