In the Western and Eastern part of Slovakia there will be 55 aluminum nest boxes installed for the Saker Falcon and in the trees there will be 40 artificial nests installed for both the Saker Falcon and the Imperial Eagle. The aim of these activities is to stabilize and increase the population of two endangered species.
The project will secure management on two key areas. The first is endemic colonies suslik in the protected bird area Slovak Karst. Suslik (Spermophilus citellus) is a very important historical prey of Saker Falcon and Imperial Eagle, but in consequence of the disappearance of the pastures in the country disappear suslik rapidly.
Project results covering the period from 1st September 2014 to 31st December 2016
55 nest boxes and 40 nests were delivered and installed in project SPAs to improve conditions for nesting of Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon. The occupancy of nest boxes and nests is checked. In 2016 altogether 5 pairs of Saker Falcon were breeding in project nest boxes in 2016 and raised 16 chicks in total. Another 26 nest boxes were occupied by a Common Kestrel. 9 nests were occupied by a Common Kestrel, Eagle Owl and Common Buzzard.
Two sites with the presence of the European Ground Squirrel (S. citellus) are included in the project area in SPA Slovenský kras. S. citellus represents a very important prey for Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon. At one site, Gemerská Hôrka, the population was on the brink of extinction when the project started (16 individuals in 2015) and it would likely disappear in the next 2 – 3 years without any action. The population was very diffused so we focused on creating a connection between the S. citellus groups and elimination of barriers (bushes, weed etc.). At the other site, Hrhov, the population size was only 75 individuals in the beginning of 2015 and was also diffused into several isolated parts when the project started. Both sites were adjusted to enable the implementation of proper measures, especially regular mowing. On 2 hectares at Gemerská Hôrka and 5 hectares at Hrhov the proper management was ensured in 2016 with the use of a tractor purchased under the project. By proper management we have created better conditions for existing populations and by reducing of fragmentation we create connection between populations and enabled the populations to spread and increase. The collected biomass is distributed among local farmers. The monitoring of S. citellus population is carried out. Altogether 70 individuals were observed in autumn of 2016 before the hibernation at Gemerská Hôrka and 250 in Hrhov! We consider these numbers for a great success.