Large-scale Bulgarian participation during an International Conference on the Lesser Kestrel in Greece

Oct. 18, 2023
A joint team of Green Balkans and representatives of two Universities from the country - Agricultural University - Plovdiv and University "Prof. Dr. Assen Zlatarov" - Burgas, took an active part in an International Conference dedicated to the conservation and research of Lesser Kestrel. The event took place at the end of last week on the colorful Greek island of Limnos and was hosted by the Greek Ornithological Society (HOS Greece) within the LIFE FALKON project - .

On this Mediterranean island nests the nature conservation community in our southern neighbor directs an isolated population of rare falcons, for whose preservation serious efforts. Leading specialists and researchers of the Lesser Kestrel attended the scientific forum from almost all Mediterranean countries in Europe, including Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, as well as representatives from the Balkan countries Bulgaria, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Experts from leading Universities, scientific institutions, non-governmental organizations and others presented their achievements in the studies of the ecological and biological features of one of the smallest falcons in Europe.

The Green Balkans team presented the results of the almost 10-year efforts of the nature protection organization and its partners (EuroNatur - Germany and DEMA - Spain), thanks to which the number of Lesser Kestrel in Bulgaria increased from 0 breeding pairs at the beginning of this century to over 40 breeding families in 2023.

The new type of structures for reproduction, adaptation and release into nature of rare birds, implemented in the Rescue Center for Wild Animals of the Green Balkans in Stara Zagora, as part of the implementation of the project "LIFE for the Lesser Kestrel " LIFE19 NAT/ BG/001017, fulfilled with the support of the LIFE Program of the European Union.

Colleagues from Agricultural University - Plovdiv emphasized on the artificial nests used by the Lesser Kestrel and especially the model developed from modern materials and technologies conscientiously with Green Balkans and the partners from "Hiltop LTD" Yambol. The participants from the University "Prof. Dr. Assen Zlatarov" reported on the migration and behavior of the Lesser Kestrel nesting near Burgas, which during its wanderings visited 18 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia.

The Bulgarian team presented 5 reports, dedicated to some of the Lesser Kestrel in the country, which were highly appreciated by the other participants in the event. The results of the Green Balkans project were complemented by two other presentations by the Greek partners from the University of Thessaly and the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature.

Among the outstanding topics discussed during the scientific forum were changes in the distribution of Lesser Kestrel in Europe, possibly caused by climate change, as well as the announcement of a previously unknown nesting site of the species in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, located by the local ornithological organization Our birds (Ornithological Society 'Our Birds').

The Green Balkans team thanks the organizers and hosts of the event from HOS Greece and CNR-IRSA, Italy for their hospitality and a fruitful conference.