The project is developing fast and brings a lot of interesting news, knowledge and results. We are ready to share this all with you.
The last three individuals of the European ground squirrel were observed this year on 17th October. It was in the locality with the most frequent occurrence of ground squirrel in Slovakia – Biele Vody near Muráň.
Red-footed falcon winters in South Africa. After the breeding season, which begins with the selection of the territory in April and ends with the leaving of the nests in July to August, our population also starts with the long way to the south.
„Balls“, „red balloons“, „flags“, „labels“, „spiral“, „combs“, „stickers“, „teeth“, „hedgehogs“, „highlighters“, „signs“, „visual elements“, „diverters“, „pig tails“ and other words where used by Slovaks to name elements installed on electric wires and columns in the country to protect birds from danger of electricity and collisions.
The main goal of the 5-year project called LIFE Energy was to identify the high-risk power lines in Eastern Slovakia (which is the distribution area of VSD) and finding the most appropriate measures to make them safer for birds.
Bird migration has begun - currently move Sub-Saharan migrants hibernating under the equator. The wandering strategy varies between species. Both adult and young individuals of Red-footed Falcon migrate even in several hundred-bit flocks. This year we have recorded a nesting of 25 pairs.
The area of Slovakia has network of electric lines with the total length approximately 35 thousand kilometers. A part of the electricity distribution system is also a transmission system consisting of metal pylons as supporting elements of overhead power lines. Pylons have long been used by birds as safe and suitable nesting sites. In this way a pair of Eurasian Hobby decided to nest. Energetics stopped the work in place, where these falcons nest, to allow them uninterrupted raising four chicks.
The LIFE Energy project started in September 2014. One of the main objectives was to identify, based on the monitoring, which sections of power lines pose the greatest risk of collisions to birds. The project took place in lowland areas in 13 Special Protected Areas (of which 7 in the west).
The project “LIFE Energy” enters the final period of implementation. It is already clear that the results have exceeded expectations and have gained the attention of both professional and general public. Now, the public as one of the target groups has the opportunity to contribute to the successful completion of shared effort to protect birds from the threatening effects of power lines and other activities to improve their living conditions.
Last year was in Slovakia also a year of European ground squirells - this wonderful rodent was doing very well thanks to good weather and people's help. Due to the warm autumn days they went to sleep at the end of the October. They wake up when the earth begins to warm up. In our conditions, it also freezes to a depth of 80 cm, the ground squirrels are deeper. It is crucial for them to hibernate before they get well fed before they find enough food to wake up when they are exhausted.
In January, ornithologists controlled the places of occurrence of rare raptor species. The number White-tailed Eagle, Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon is known already, the data obtained will be used for protection of these endangered species. Monitored areas and habitats of verified presence of mentioned species are illustrated in the map here.
In 2018, we recorded the nesting of many rare species. Thanks to the human help, 8 juveniles of the montagu's harrier were saved - it is a species that has a nest on the ground, often in cereals. We also enjoyed the successful return of the red-footed falcon, which is critically endangered in Slovakia. We confirmed the nesting of 17 pairs of our greatest predator – white tailed eagle, 31 pairs of saker falcons and more than 60 pairs of imperial eagle.
Year 2018 in Slovakia was for European ground squirells very successful. These true winter sleepers relax in their hole for just three weeks, warm October days they used for feeding. Last year, 400 sousliks from Slovak Karst went into hibernation, this autumn it was already 600. For survival during cold days, it is crucial good fattening - even during sleep, they need plenty of energy. The warm autumn days helped them greatly in the food collection.
FireFly, lamella or spiral - are the types of special elements – flight diverters, which have been gradually found in Slovakia since 2016 on the risk sections of power lines through the LIFE Energy project. They help the birds and prevent deadly collisions. On the occasion of the European Bird Days, which we celebrate the next weekend, the Raptor Protection of Slovakia has published a map of sections, where flight diverters are already installed and it can be seen by the public.
The Saker Falcon, in European Red List an endangered species, has almost disappeared in Slovakia. Thanks to the tough and demanding work of members of the Raptor Protection of Slovakia, we managed to keep and gradually increase their number from several couples to the current state - 31 pairs. The population of the largest Falcon from five Falcon species living in Slovakia remains fragile and needs help from experts. Like other predators, the Saker Falcon has an irreplaceable role in nature.
The Bird Phenomenon ignores weather and current temperatures. The instinct of the migrants is clear - when the nesting is over, the long journey begins. This is currently the case for so-called Sub-Saharan migrants, wintering under the equator.
A worldwide catastrophe is underway among an extraordinary group of birds — the marathon migrants we know as shorebirds. Numbers of some species are falling so quickly that many biologists fear an imminent planet-wide wave of extinctions.
By John W. Fitzpatrick and Nathan R. Senner
May and June represent the biggest pressure for the rescue stations, the staff of the State Protection Nature of the SR and non-governmental organizations. Many inhabitants of towns and villages know what the procedure is for the nesting of young birds that are actually leaving the nest. For healthy and vital birds is the best option to put on the fence or tree, away from the road, out of reach of dogs and cats. "Parents" of birds are generally close and feed them. If a young falcon arrive on a balcony or parapet, it usually needs just short breake.
The European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) is doing well in two restored localities in the Slovak Karst (Gemerská Hôrka and Hrhov). Winter survived about 330 individuals, which is considered to be a great success with their high mortality during hibernation. In the areas that were cleaned from the bushes and trees within LIFE Energy project expand sousliks. We are currently watching young sousliks learning how to walk and eat separately.
15th to 16th June will take place at the Agrokomplex Exhibition Center in Nitra and at the interesting localities in the area, a unique event called "Ekofestival", which will include a conference. The purpose of the event is to share the latest, scientifically and practice proven methods of modern nature conservation, to establish interdisciplinary (scientists, state and non-governmental conservationists) and international cooperation and, in particular, an attempt to unify the (perhaps unnecessarily) fragmented opinions of the conservation community in order to create and coordinate a common stream that will protect our nature even more effectively than before.
Consoles of power pylons represent a very attractive place for birds in the open country. If the neighborhood is not nearby vegetation, such an elevated seating place provides predators in particular a suitable point for observing prey and if necessary defense of the territory. In many cases, electric pylons and consoles are a risk to abutting species. Západoslovenská distribučná installed during International Day for Biological Diversity insulators on electric power lines.
European sousliks, ground squirrels, are doing well at two revival localities, Gemerská Hôrka and Hrhov in Slovenský kras. 330 of them survived the winter, which is a significant number when taking into consideration the high death rate during hibernation.
Exactly on Easter Monday, a local citizen spotted near the village of Bánov (in the district of Nové Zámky) a great bustard. He became the first person to observe a great drop in the Nitrianska pahorkatina after 30 years.
Slovakia is an important crossing of bird migration routes. Even though the winter does not seem to farewell to us, now is the time for the return of many domestic species as well as the departure of winter guests. The process of nesting has been starting- from selection of partner and territory, through mating or egg yield.
The Lesser Spotted Eagle in the surrounding of Košice can be observed in the nearby Volovské and Slanské vrchy. The exhibition, focused on the Lesser Spotted Eagle, can be visited directly in the city center of Košice- in the Východoslovenské múzeum (East Slovak Museum).
We invite you to the opening of the exhibition "High on the wings - What we know about the lesser spotted eagle".
Since the calendar spring remains less than a month. In the animal kingdom, some species still sleep, others winter in Africa and some are already nesting. The sleep recorder is the alpine marmot in the Tatra Mountains - it sleeps up to 7 months of the year. White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and owls begin to nest in cold days.
In Slovakia, only 55 pairs of Imperial eagle nested in 2017, of which 36 pairs in eastern Slovakia. The young eagles are very vulnerable and the rescue of each eagle is very important. That's why the Východoslovenská distribučná, a.s. installs protective elements for electric lines. Eagles around their nests will be safe a protected in the other two SPAs.
In January, ornithologists controlled the places of occurrence of rare raptor species. The number of Red Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon is known already, the data obtained will be used for protection of these endangered species. Monitored areas and habitats of verified presence of mentioned species are illustrated in the map here.
If you see people in the surroundings of the power line in next days, do not be afraid. These may be mappers who monitor the LIFE Energy project in order to find out, how birds react to the so-called flight diverters.
The year 2017 brought several ornithological attractions. This trend also continues in the year 2018. Birdwatchers stated large appearance of Common Redpolls, a new species discovery for Slovakia, and an unusual crossbreed. Hybrid of the Eurasian blackcap and the garden warbler was caught near Prievidza by Roman Slobodník and Vladimír Slobodník.A new species for Slovakia (in the order of 363) became the Red-flanked Bluetail. The latest experts are experiencing often views of the Ural owl in the lowland, outside the area of its known nesting. At the clinic in Košice treated mainly traumatized individuals, most often injured after a collision with cars.
Slovakia is an important crossing of the winter migration of birds, for many it becomes a temporary home throughout the winter. There are species that cannot be seen at another time of the year. In the case of birds, their origin is determined by the territory where they nest. On cold days, birds from Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark or Finland fly to Slovakia.
The European ground squirrels sowing belong to the true winter sleepers, consistently overpassing even more than 5 months of the year. Each souslik has a single hole of more than 80 cm below the ground – what presents the border to which in the country usually frozen the soil. Starting the end of September sousliks in Gemerska Hôrka and Hrhov slept. There are almost 400.
Birds (many of them) have the ability to see UV (ultraviolet) light, which we humans cannot see.
The territory of Slovakia is interlaced by an increasingly dense network of electric power lines in a total length of about 35 thousand kilometers. For birds, the wires in their flight trajectory are dangerous obstructions. Therefore, ornithologists, in cooperation with energy companies, carry out a number of activities, that help to create favourable conditions for their safe flight, nesting and searching for food.
At the end of the August, a young saker falcon was returned into the wild. It belongs to one of the rarest bird species living in Slovakia. The falcon was found back in July by the member of Raptor Protection of Slovakia Jozef Mihók, nearby the nest it flew out from. Another RPS member, Ján Lipták, handed the falcon to expert care. After a successful rehabilitation, this precious patient was ready to be released.
The offspring of some bird species are still learning to fly after they recently flew out of the nest, while others are shortly after being independent, undertake long journey to the warm areas.
Origins of bird ringing reach back to the 18th century. First such tagged birds were swallows, when ornithologists tried to prove that they migrate South, with the help of a piece of twine. Foundations of systematic ringing were laid a hudred years ago by Hans Christian Cornelius Mortensen, who started to tag starlings nesting in his nest boxes.
The European ground squirrel is a species bound to regularly managed meadows in lowland or sub-mountain areas. With the loss of cattle and shepherds, this lovely and popular animal has also disappeared from the land. Sousliks used to be a significant part of raptor food, such as for the Saker Falcon, the Eastern Imperial Eagle and the Lesser Spotted Eagle, which are the focus of the project LIFE Energia.
One of the most common questions we are frequently asked is whether birds do abandon their nestlings after their contact with people. With the exception of vultures, sense of smell does not play as important role for most of birds of prey, as it does for some mammals.
Wednesday 28 June 2017 was an extraordinary day for the children from the elementary school on Starozagorská Street in Košice. Under the leadership of Mrs. Kišová they visited the Clinic for birds and exotic animals at the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice. The excursion at the clinic was an accompanying event of the exhibition "I´m sitting on a line and I´m fine" at the East Slovak Museum in Košice.
During summer holidays there is an interesting attraction in Piešťany. In the area of Elektrárne Piešťany, on Tuesday, 4th July, the opening of the exhibition "I´m sitting on a line and I´m fine“will be held. People can take a picture of a real power line with a bird in the background. Expert lectures, tips for birdwatcher and films are prepared. Actions dedicated to birds will continue throughout the summer.
On Monday, June 26, the first public discussion will take place in the East Slovak Museum in Košice on activities aimed at preventing and eliminating the negative impact of power lines on birds. The moderated event is the accompanying event of an unusual exhibition titled "I´m sitting on a line and I´m fine“., which visitors can see in the museum by the end of June. People can ask their experts questions in advance or directly on the action.
The Imperial Eagle belongs to endangered species in Slovakia, the rescue of each individual is of very important. Employees of the State Nature Conservancy from the Protected Landscape Area of Ponitrie managed during the weekend to save the young eagle of the Imperial Eagle who had fallen from the nest.
In the coming weeks the unique exhibition of the LIFE Energy project "I´m sitting on a line and I´m fine” will be open to public in southern Slovakia near the Special Protection Area Poiplie.
An opportunity to sit down safely on power lines and experience how birds may feel in such a situation – that is exactly what this unique exhibition within the LIFE ENERGY project offers. The exhibition is currently in the Centro – Shopping Centre in Nitra.
Press Release, Bratislava
After a long winter, the European Ground Squirrel woke up from winter sleep. In Slovakia the former common species is currently among the threatened, and nature conservationists are therefore also active in the LIFE Energia project for the rescue. Over the last two years, the populations of Suslik have been restored at two locations in the Slovak region.
In the coming days, ornithologists expect the first peak of spring bird migration. It lasts in relation to autumn shorter; one of the factors is the effect of hormones due to reproduction and nesting. An arrival of many species is expected in large numbers, for example chaffinch that make up to thousands of flocks.
550 trees have already been planted under the LIFE Energy project in Slovakia. It would be nothing extraordinary. Outstanding is the fact that the trees will protect birds from collisions with the above ground electric wires. The trees were planted on areas where there was a bird deaths due to collisions with the electrical wiring recorded.
Danube Parks Connected. The Ambition of a project with this name is to connect the partner organisations via actions, implemented in countries along the Danube river. One of the important work packages is the issue of protecting birds from collisions named Danube Free Sky. This package is a reason why we were invited to the Kic-off Conference of the above mentioned project in Ingolstadt, Germany, on 21st and 22nd February 2017.
Press Release Bratislava
In January, ornithologists controlled the places of occurrence of rare raptor species. The number of Red Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon is known already, the data obtained will be used for protection of these endangered species. Monitored areas and habitats of verified presence of mentioned species are illustrated in the map http://bit.ly/2k6i5PS.
Press Release Bratislava
Love takes many forms. On Saturday 11.02.2017, up to two hundred nature lovers joined in excursion prepared by Raptor Protection of Slovakia in cooperation with ZSE. This event took place at Hrušovská dam on the Danube River, where White-tailed Eagles, the biggest raptors of Slovakia, stay in large numbers during the winter season.
Red Kite census was carried out last weekend along the Morava River. Other three winter days will be devoted to another rare species of birds of prey. It is considered to be the largest coordinated action of this kind regarding the number of participants and extend of surveyed territory. Several thousand observers are expected to participate within the Europe.
The Morava River basin is very rich and valuable nature treasure. Well preserved natural alluvial forests, wetlands and meadows provide habitat of high diversity for wide range of wild species, rare birds included. In 2016 a pair of Saker Falcon, two pairs of Imperial Eagle, a pair of White-tailed Eagle and seven pairs of Red Kite nested in this area. Especially the winter occurrence of Red Kite is numerous.
Last year was very significant and beneficial for those who are interested in nature protection, in particular birds. Up to four new bird species occurred in Slovakia and critically endangered Falcon bred record number of young ones. Installation of special technical elements on electric wires was started within the LIFE Energy Project.
Nowadays, something especial happens in Slovakia. Special components arise on precisely selected electric lines sections to enhance the visibility of wires for birds and reduce the collisions which have occurred here. This action saves more than 600 birds yearly..
An opportunity to sit down safely on power lines and experience how birds may feel in such a situation – that is exactly what this unique exhibition within the LIFE ENERGY project offers. It was ceremonially opened at the Ministry of Environment in Bratislava on the World Animal Day (4th October). László Sólymos, Slovak Minister of Environment seized the opportunity to try sitting on a power line, too.
62 field assistants participated on the field survey under the LIFE Energy project and walked more than 32 thousand kilometers in field.