Nine chicks of Altai Saker falcon hatched in nursery raised by wild birds in Russia
Nine chicks of Altai phenotype of Saker falcon (dark morph) hatched in Moscow nurseries have been raised by the pairs of wild Saker falcons. The “foster parents” who “adopted” chicks, fed and cared for them as if they were their native chicks. All chicks successfully grew, survived in the wild and left their nests.
In June these 30-days-old Saker falcon chicks were taken from the Moscow nurser, brought by plane and later by cars to the wild habitats of Saker falcons in Sibera and carefully placed in the nests of breeding pairs of Saker falcons who this year had their own chicks. This re-introduction method of raising chicks hatched in nurseries in the nests of wild saker falcons was first ever performed for this species in Russia and globally. This way chicks easier adapt to living in the wild and add up to the population of the rare falcons.
Re-introduction of the Altai Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug altaicus) project in Altai-Sayan ecoregion has been implemented since 2018 by WWF-Russia, Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network supported by World Around You Foundation of Siberian Wellness (a corporate donor). The main goal is boosting the genetic diversity of Saker falcon population and restoration of Saker falcons of the Altai phenotype.
Saker falcon restoration start in 2017
Some of the released chicks are tagged by GPS/GSM transmitters to track the migration routes, follow their way and assess the project success, Tracking proved that threats to Saker falcons are still in place such as poaching, death of electrocuting on unprotected power lines, poisoning of eating poisoned rodents, habitat shrinking due to anthropogenic influence and climate change: 9 birds were caught by poachers, 9 Saker falcons killed by other birds of prey, 5 died of electrocuting, 6 were lost as the transmitters’ signal were lost.
Camera set on the nests, Saker falcons feeding their chicks
Saker falcon population has decreased dramatically in Southern Siberia from 9000 in 1970 to 1185 breeding pairs in 2019.