Conservation of Saker (Falco cherrug) in the Carpathian Basin (LIFE06 NAT/HU/000096)
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Latest news
The final conference of the Saker conservation LIFE project was held in Eger, Hungary 16-18 September. More than 60 participants from 10 countries attended the conference, where they could learn about the Saker conservation activities in the European range of the species including the results of the LIFE projects lead by Bükk National Park Directorate and expert-wisely co-ordinated by MME/BirdLife in Hungary and RPS in Slovakia. (2010/09/23)
Late October 2009 the satellite-tracked Saker Dorottya from Hungary arrived in Niger. She spent most of the following four months 50-25 km NNE of Zinder (roughly 14.00 N 9.00 E). The areas where she stayed are mostly quite flat coversands. Local rainfall averages 300-400 mm/yr. The main crop is the grain crop millet, grown by Haussa farmers. The other main land use is pastoralism, carried out primarily by Peul families. (2010/07/12)
EU's LIFE Committee has approved our new Saker conservation project for support. The aims of the project are to transfer knowledge from the recent LIFE programme to Romanian and Bulgarian colleagues on one hand, and on the other hand to continue insulation of the most dangerous places in Hungary and - involving one electric company as a partner (Západoslovenská energetika, a.s.) - in Slovakia. In the frame of the project, effects of wind farms and diet composition will also be assessed. (2010/06/21)
Three months of intense rehabilitation were not enough to save a falcon. Unfortunately, the Saker Falcon - a globally endangered species did not make it back to the wild. The bird underwent a serious operation; however its condition did not improve and likely as a result of a bacterial infection the bird died in early January 2010. (2010/01/28)
The number of downloads: 1286311
Latest update: 2014/04/28
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Successful Saker Conservation LIFE Conference
(2010/09/23)

The final conference of the Saker conservation LIFE project was held in Eger, Hungary 16-18 September. More than 60 participants from 10 countries attended the conference, where they could learn about the Saker conservation activities in the European range of the species including the results of the LIFE projects lead by Bükk National Park Directorate and expert-wisely co-ordinated by MME/BirdLife in Hungary and RPS in Slovakia.

The programme of the conference, and the abstracts of the presentations and posters are available here.

A layman’s report has been done in the frame of the LIFE programme for those, who are not experts in the topic. The layman’s report can be read here.
Report on Sakers' Wintering Sites in Niger
(2010/07/12)

Late October 2009 the satellite-tracked Saker Dorottya from Hungary arrived in Niger. She spent most of the following four months 50-25 km NNE of Zinder (roughly 14.00 N 9.00 E). The areas where she stayed are mostly quite flat coversands. Local rainfall averages 300-400 mm/yr. The main crop is the grain crop millet, grown by Haussa farmers. The other main land use is pastoralism, carried out primarily by Peul families.

From 7-16 February field work was carried out to investigate her behaviour and ecology in that area. She was observed twice. One regurgitation pellet and one plucking remains were found. Twenty km of power line were walked, and 25 prey-and-vegetation transects of about 2 km each.

The pellet contained remains of a beetle or beetles and of birds. No mammal hairs were found. The plucking remains may have been of a chicken. The local vegetation structure proved to be very open, with less than 20 trees/ha. The area were Dorottya stayed the first two months, around Dania, still contained some more or less natural habitat. Where she stayed the second two months, around Toumnia, all had been converted to millet fields A third area, 70 km further south-west, were she stayed only one night, had more trees (70 trees/ha) but was also mostly millet fields Local bird biomass observed varied from 1 to 2.5 kg per km of transect. Grasshopper presence and reptile presence were low, mammal hole presence was not very high either. Comparison with habitats and prey availability in areas in Europe would be of interest.

The main danger to Saker appears to come from boys with slingshots and from local hunters. On the other hand birds like the Saker are seen as bringing good luck, and as useful in controlling birds and rodents that may attach millet crops. These aspects may be entry points for a conservation campaign for Saker and other raptors.

Full report (in English) >>
Saker Conservation - To Be Continued
(2010/06/21)

EU's LIFE Committee has approved our new Saker conservation project for support. The aims of the project are to transfer knowledge from the recent LIFE programme to Romanian and Bulgarian colleagues on one hand, and on the other hand to continue insulation of the most dangerous places in Hungary and - involving one electric company as a partner (Západoslovenská energetika, a.s.) - in Slovakia. In the frame of the project, effects of wind farms and diet composition will also be assessed.

14 organisations of 4 countries will participate in the project co-ordinated by Bükk National Park Directorate.

Project partners:
In Bulgaria: BirdLife Bulgaria
In Hungary: Kiskunság NPD, Körös-Maros NPD, MME/BirdLife Hungary, Pro Vértes Public Fund, Zöld Folyosó Public Fund, ÉMÁSZ, DÉMÁSZ, MAVIR
In Romana: MILVUS, BirdLife Romania
In Slovákiában: RPS, ZSE, a.s.

Duration of the project: 01.10.2010 - 30.09.2014.

Approved total budget: € 4 032 828 - of which 74,55% will be covered by the EU
Saker Falcon lost his battle after fatal injury
(2010/01/28)

Three months of intense rehabilitation were not enough to save a falcon. Unfortunately, the Saker Falcon - a globally endangered species did not make it back to the wild. The bird underwent a serious operation; however its condition did not improve and likely as a result of a bacterial infection the bird died in early January 2010.





The Saker Falcon was found unable to fly at the beginning of November 2009 in Podunajské Biskupice (part of Bratislava). It was a 3 – 4 years old male without an ornithological ring, therefore it was not possible to identify the origin country of the bird. Employees of the State Nature Conservancy took the injured bird to be examined by the vet. X-rays scan revealed a bullet lodged in the bird’s coccyx. Owing to the historic nature of the injury, the specialist decided not to remove the bullet. However, whilst the bird’s recovery was being monitored no further progress was noticed. Another scan was conducted, which found the presence of a second bullet trapped in the tip of its wing. Following this revelation the decision was made for the bird to undergo surgery to remove both bullets. Everyone was hopeful that this procedure would aid to make its recovery.

The Saker Falcon had become a victim of illegal shooting. All delicts affecting birds are referred to as ‘bird crime’. From that reason a suggestion for prosecution of an unknown offender was submitted to the responsible Police Authority. Every year there is tens of birds that fall victim to the bird crime in Slovakia. Besides the illegal shooting, criminal activity includes laying poisoned bait and traps, nest robbery, illegal trapping and breeding. In 2009 four Saker Falcons were found poisoned by ‘carbofuran’ in the same place. This case demonstrates the extent of the problem.





In 2009 only 34 pairs of Saker were nesting in Slovakia. To protect the critical endangered species different conservation programmes are being implemented. One of those is a common Slovak-Hungarian project „Conservation of Falco cherrug in the Carpathian basin“, supported by the European Commission, LIFE-Nature programe, implemented from 2006 in both countries.
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© Conservation of Saker (Falco cherrug) in the Carpathian Basin (LIFE06 NAT/HU/000096)