Protection of the Red-Footed Falcon

Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) works for the conservation of wild birds, sites and habitats important to their survival and for biodiversity as a whole.
 

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The Project

Amongst other things, BSPB:
  • Works with and for people at a local and regional level
  • Raises awareness about birds and fosters passion for nature and conservation
  • Welcomes members from all sectors of society and involves them through practical conservation, education and public awareness work
  • Contributes to internationally agreed conservation priorities
This project aims to continue the BSPB’s work for the Red-Footed Falcon which has suffered drastic declines in Bulgaria over the past decade. Colleagues in Hungary have stabilised and reversed the falling population, and projections show that this larger population will expand its range into Romania and Bulgaria. The project will take place in 3 regions of Bulgaria and will involve:
  • Construction and installation of specially designed nest boxes
  • Monitoring of nest box colonies and breeding success
  • Public awareness and media campaign to change attitudes and behaviour that harms the Red-Footed Falcon
 

The Update

There was much excitement in August 2010 when a previously unknown small breeding colony of 5-8 pairs of red footed falcons was found in the Bourgas region. In 2011, another two colonies were found in south Bulgaria, each containing 3 breeding pairs of falcons.  More nest boxes have been installed at these sites to encourage growth of the colonies.

An exchange trip to Hungary in September, one of the most important countries in Europe for red-footed falcon conservation, was carried out. This involved exchange of information, visits to relevant habitats and participation in a workshop preparing a Species Action Plan for the protection of the red-footed falcon in Europe.

To date in Bulgaria, over 400 nest boxes have been constructed and been installed in the open areas of Persina Island, near one of the biggest marshes along the Danube and grasslands around Beltsov village, and along the Black Sea coast.

Success has been achieved in a media campaign resulting in a TV interview on the most popular Bulgarian TV channels and footage on youtube. Moe than 10 presentations have been conducted in local schools and in two field conservation camps, involving approximately 500 participants. 

Nest box and colony monitoring will be a continuous process during each coming season, as will looking for new colonies and researching the ecology of each breeding area and its breeding success, with proposals of measures successfully implemented in Hungary hopefully being included in the Bulgarian Rural Development Plan.
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We are hugely grateful for the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, without whose support we could never have realised such an ambitious project.
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage