Saker falcons of the Southern Siberia will report on their routes to WWF Russia
These chicks hatched and raised in captivity and in June were delivered to the nests of the wild Saker falcon and carefully put into them. This method of raising the captive chicks by the pairs of wild birds’ proved to be successful for restoration of the other birds’ species. It gives hope for the Saker falcon population in Russia which number has gone down twice for the last 40 years due to poaching and death of electrocution on power-lines and well as to the dramatic shrinking of the habitat.
At the end of June, the ornithologists carefully placed the GPS transmitters on five chicks. This kind of equipment is widely used to track the migration routes of the birds. The transmitter weighs only 20 grams, it does not bother the bird neither flight nor hunting. The birds are even observed cleaning the transmitters as if it is a part of the bird’s body. Last year GPS-transmitter helped track the Uchsin Sakert falcon who died in China killed by power line in 2017.
Saker falcons do not build nests. That is why years ago the artificial nests were built to provide the Saker falcons with enough nesting places. Almost all the chicks were placed into the nest on the artificial platforms. Next year the ornithologists plan to keep the same number of chicks (about 200) but repair the old artificial nests and platforms and provide more food for those birds that need.
The camera on the nest. The Saker falcon feeds all chicks.
The first project phase was implemented in 2017 in two region of Southern Siberia, within the borders of Altai-Sayan Ecoregion, the motherland of Saker falcon of the specific “Altaic” morph.
Ten 20-days-old chicks of Saker falcons from two breeding centers of Russia were placed in the nests of wild falcons of other color morphs. Ten nestlings from a breeding center were placed in 6 nests of wild Sakers with 24 native nestlings. Video-recording revealed no aggression between native and no-native nestlings, as well as no aggression from adult birds towards non-native nestlings. In total, 9 non-native nestlings and 21 native nestlings successfully fledged and left the nests. The known losses after fledging amounted to 2 young birds – one native and one non-native, both were killed by bigger raptors. The youngest female from the nest in Altai Republic tagged with GPS-GSM tracker successfully migrates and winters now in Mongolia.
The Saker falcon restoration project in Russia is implemented by Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network and Sibecocentre NGO in partnership with Altai-Sayan Programme of WWF Russia, World Around Foundation of Siberian Corporation, Ubsunurskaya Kotlovina Nature Reserve, Sailugemsky National Park, Khakassky Nature Reserve, Vitapshere and Altai-falcon rare birds’ nurseries, The Altai Project/Earth Island Institute, Ecotone и Herman Ottó Institute (Hungary).