Spring maintenance works made on nestboxes for Red-footed Falcons

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[singlepic id=601 w=250 h=200 float=left]Although the Hungarian-Romanian Red-footed Falcon LIFE project has ended in 2009, the Milvus Group has assumed to manage the so-called After LIFE activities (those are required to be continued after the end of the project). One of these activities is the maintenance of the artificial nests mounted within the LIFE project for the Red-footed Falcons.

It’s a well-known fact that falcon species don’t build the nest of their own, instead raise their chicks in other birds’ nests. In our region the “Red-foots” choose mainly the nests of rooks, as they breed colonially as well. In the recent years we’ve established brand new colonies by putting artificial nests on trees in those areas where rookeries lack.

During a breeding season these artificial nests, made by timber, are filled with bird droppings and pellets, often transforming into a solid, aqueous mass because of the wet winter and spring weather. A nesting box of this type protects the eggs and the chicks from predators and bad weather conditions, being one of the most effective methods to raise breeding success. But in the same time, covered artificial nests need more time to dry out then the natural nests do.

[singlepic id=602 w=250 h=200 float=left]If eggs are laid in springtime on a wet surface they can easily get cold, situation which can ruin the whole breeding. This is the reason we clean all the artificial nests and change the nest material year by year. In some cases other kind of maintenance activities (e.g. nest consolidation) are required to do as well.

Although these nestboxes were placed out especially for the Red-footed Falcons, some of them are occupied by other bird species. Kestrels and Long-eared Owls usually choose these nests to breed, being also welcomed by us as they are protected species, too. Since the mentioned species’ breeding season starts earlier than the Red-footed Falcon’s, we had the opportunity to find breeding Kestrels and Long-eared Owls during our nest-maintenance works.

We have found in several nests many eggs, which make us to hope for a successful breeding season for this summer after a disastrous one from last year. It seems that this year the populations of pray-species (especially of vole) will grow, and so the Red-footed Falcons, arriving in the early of May, will have plenty of food to consume. The nesting conditions were already ensured by us.

Thanks to all who have helped our work!

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