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.
“The great bustard had completely disappeared from Slovakia. It is estimated that several hundred pairs used to nest in Slovakia. The great bustard is the heaviest flying bird in the world; the highest confirmed weight of an adult male is 22 kilograms. Bustard females are smaller, with a maximum weight of five kilograms. The great bustard is a grasslands non-migrating species that needs enough insects, rodents, amphibians and reptiles to raise their young. Drastic changes in agricultural methods, such as using chemical substances, establishing large-area monocrops and growing unsuitable crops, brought the decrease of the nesting population to a complete disappearance. Besides that, in the second half of the last century, electric networks started to cross the countryside in the flight trajectory of bustards that resulted in no known nesting of bustards since 2000. This beautiful bird disappeared from Žitný ostrov as well as from Nitrianska pahorkatina and other areas. The only exception is irregular nesting in two locations in the southwest of the country. It is possible to see flocks of bustards in certain areas of the Slovak border with Austria and Hungary, mainly in the winter - 503 bustards were counted there this year,” explained Lucia Deutschová from raptor Protection of Slovakia.
“Observing bustards in Nitrianska pahorkatina after 30 years is very precious, according to Lucia Deutschová from Raptor Protection of Slovakia. The observation spot near Bánov village is part of the Protected Bird Area Dolné Považie where bustards used to live. Exactly in the neighbourhood of this site we are applying measures to increase the visibility of power lines in order to protect birds from collision. Preventive measures realise Raptor Protection of Slovakia within LIFE Energy project in cooperation with Západoslovenská energetika, a.s. (Western Slovak Energy). It is the perfect piece of news that may bring other measures to create conditions for the species’ return. This discovery showed that the genetic memory of birds may send them back to historical localities to check whether everything is ready for their return,” added Deutschová.
Project is supported by European Union within a LIFE program. It contributes significantly to improvement of conditions for the criterial species of birds in Natura 2000 sites.