From 27.02 to 3.03.2010 we conducted a survey of territories in the Crimea, prospective to attract the Saker Falcon in artificial nests. Simultaneously, the material was collected on fauna of birds of prey.
Studies were carried out in the territories of Dzhankoi, Krasnoperkopsk, Krasnohvardiiske, Nyzhn’ohirskyi, Sovietskyi, Kirovske, Feodosia, Lenine and Kerch districts. Counts of birds of prey were also done along the highway in Kherson region till the border of Dnipropetrovsk.
In the north of Kherson region there were clear evidences of winter, snow covered almost the entire surface of the ground. On the Crimean Peninsula the snow cover was observed only in the northernmost region – Krasnoperekopsk, where it lay in small patches in ditches at the sides of roads and in gutters. Maximum temperature during the day reached + 10 ˚ C, at night falling down to – 1 ˚ C. In most parts of the peninsula days were sunny, sometimes with variable cloudiness.
During censuses, we observed a well-defined migration of birds of prey, it was especially noticeable on Kerch Peninsula. The basis of migrants consisted of the Hen Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard, Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. These species were also registered along our count routes on hunting and roost sites.
During the expedition we, as an experiment, have set 5 platforms for the Saker falcon. In order not to give a visual information for any poachers willing to “clean” falcon’s nests, we decided not to put photos at the website with results of the work.
Belik, V.P. 2009. Birds of planted forests of the steppe Ciscaucasia: Composition and formation of ornithofauna in arid conditions. – Kryvyi Rih: Mineral. 215 p.
This book represents a text of the dissertation defended in 1986 at Institute of Zoology of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kyiv. Despite a slight declining interest in this subject in the 1980s – after the release of a large series of publications of the Ukrainian and Russian zoologists, dedicated to the study of ornithofauna of steppe planted forests – these studies are still valid until now.
It’s the point that precisely at that period the USSR had accumulated extensive data on faunogenesis of birds, which were repeatedly discussed in the press, but, apparently, not comprehended to an end. Only recently, when it was prepared the information ground, “ploughed” by current global dynamics of the bird ranges, there arose prerequisites for a deeper analysis of the collected data of that period. And a brief overview of the problem, undertaken again in 2003 (Ornithologia (Ornithology), Issue 30, pp. 25-31), has found a very favorable response among specialists. Therefore, it would be useful once again to discuss these issues on particular materials, which are contained in the dissertation.
In field practice, we repeatedly had to deal with cases of predation by martens in the nests of certain species of birds of prey. In some cases, not only clutches were destroyed and chicks were killed, but also adult birds such as the Common Buzzard. Most frequently these are small birds of prey which are subjected to predation press by mustelids (small falcons, the Sparrowhawk, Long-eared Owl). It is especially unpleasant when martens ruin nests of rare species of birds of prey.
In our practice there was a case where the marten killed on the nest a large chick of the Short-toed Eagle in the age of 6-7 weeks. Therefore, in Chernihiv region in the Regional Landscape Park “Mezhrechenskii” there have been taken measures to protect two trees for one nesting pair of the Short-toed Eagles from attacks of the marten. It is the pair of raptors which lost their chick in 2008. In addition, during regular felling in breeding territory, the certain kind of nesting trees should be specially protected from terrestrial predators: the nesting trees which are easily accessible but selected by the Short-toed Eagle in the areas unsuitable for cutting forest. In this way we increase the probability of the annual use of these trees by birds, thereby reducing human disturbance on reproductive success.
Installing protection against terrestrial predators is also justified in cases of special studies related to the need to visit occupied nests of birds of prey (Galushin, Kostin 2008).