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.
But these nests, built most of the times extremely close to the electrical wiring, create several problems for the electric companies, like power-cuts caused by short-circuit. For that reason, during their maintenance activities, the workers of the electric companies remove the nests every year. The lack of suitable nests clearly interferes with the expansion of Saker population in a natural way. Besides of this aspect, when Sakers try to breed in poorly built, inadequate nests, it easily could lead to a failure of the whole breeding. Most probably it was the same situation we have faced this spring at one of the active Saker territories, when one of our colleagues has found the broken eggshells below the nest built on a pylon. The eggs most likely felt between the twigs of the sparsely assembled nest.
In these circumstances, we have decided to raise the number of artificial nests to be mounted in Western Romania, in comparison to what we intended to install initially. The high voltage powerline network from the western counties of Romania is managed by four different transmission operator, therefore the Milvus Group have to reach an agreement with each of them in order to cover with artificial nests all the relevant regions. As the power network operator companies work with subcontractors when it comes to the service and maintenance of the powerlines, the inclusive costs of the artificial nest installing works fall upon the companies. However the managements of the companies seem to realize the importance of this issue and they are dedicated to support, even financially, our activities. The first nest was already mounted on a pylon, the same one where Maia, the first Romanian tagged
Saker fledged last year. We are confident that until the next breeding period all the 85 artificial nestboxes will be installed, and the Saker Falcon population from the Western part of Romania will prosper instantly!