European Regional Development Fund of the European Union
The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni, Fleischer, 1818)is a small falcon species that is a useful ally of man in combating pests in agricultural landscapes. However, due to agriculture intensification, farmland abandonment, loss of nesting sites and intensive pesticide application nowadays it has an uncertain future.
In Bulgaria the species was considered to be declining in the 70s with a minimum of 57 confirmed pairs in the period 1980-1990. This period was the last time breeding was confirmed in the country, reported along riparian banks in Sakar Mountains, Southeastern Bulgaria. Nowadays only single wandering birds and small flocks are being observed and the species is considered extinct as nesting. However, it is believed that the main threats that have lead to the decline of the Lesser Kestrel populations in Bulgaria have been eliminated so at present the Green Balkans NGO is exploring the possibilities for restoring the species in Southeastern Bulgaria through captive breeding and further release in line with the recolonization provisions of the International Action Plan.
Thus the aim of the proposed work is to design a habitat model and identify potential key areas for the restoration of a viable population of Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) in Southeastern Bulgaria. In addition to that, it is meant to assist the development of further site management strategies within a Viability Study for the potential reintroduction of Lesser Kestrel in Bulgaria.
The current research will attempt to do that through the following steps:
Compiling a set of criteria for identifying suitable breeding sites for Lesser Kestrels;
Using the set of criteria to identify suitable areas for installing artificial nest boxes to support a reintroduced Lesser Kestrel population in Southeastern Bulgaria;
Compiling a set of criteria for identifying potential key areas for release of captive bred Lesser Kestrels that would secure their survival, adaptation, further breeding and migration;
Using the set of criteria to identify suitable Lesser Kestrel release sites in Southeastern Bulgaria;
Formulating a set of management strategies for the suitable habitats found;
Utilizing the compiled habitat models as a contribution to the compilation of a Viability Study for the Successful Reintroduction of Lesser Kestrel in Bulgaria;
The preparation of the Fesibility study is provided within the project “Conservation measures for target species of the EU Birds Directive – Lesser Kestrel, Black Vulture, and Imperial Eagle in their main habitats in Bulgaria”. The project is implemented by Green Balkans with the financial assistance of the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union and the state budget of the Republic of Bulgaria through Environment OP 2007-2013 (ope.moew.government.bg), Axis 3 “Preservation and restoration of biodiversity”: project No 58301–60-480, Contract No 58301 – С – 008, procedure BG161PO005/08/3/01/05.