Smart nests and more!

Apr. 25, 2023
The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature installed artificial nests for the Lesser Kestrel at Kilkis a few days ago so that the species may nest and breed.

Three of them are smart nests with cameras and sensors, allowing us to monitor the species and better understand its behavior in partnership with the 2nd Experimental High School of Kilkis and the "Climate Detectives" project. Students become "climate detectives" by identifying and analyzing a climate problem. Teachers and students in the Kilkis prefecture have committed to studying the impacts of climate change on the Lesser Kestrel in the protected areas of Elos Arjan and Anthofyto.

The greater Anthofyto area is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and is included in Natura 2000 sites because, among other things, it is an important habitat for the Lesser Kestrel. The estimate for the area within the boundaries of the SPA code GR1230006 (PERIOCHI ANTHOFYTOU), based on the survey conducted in 2021 and 2022 by the scientific team of the LIFE for Lesser Kestrel project, is that the village of Anthofyto hosts 18-31 pairs. It is worth noting that 3 additional colonies were found adjacent to the boundaries of the SPA, consisting of 19 - 32 pairs: the colony in the village of Neos Syrrako (10 - 18 pairs), the colony in the village of Mikrokambos (5 - 7 pairs) and the colony in the village of Vakoufi (4 - 7 pairs).

Two colonies were also found in the neighbouring SPA GR1230004 (LIMNI PIKROLIMNI - XILOKERATEA) where a total of 1-3 breeding pairs were counted (Pikrolimni, 1-2 pairs and Bakaiika, 0-1 pair).

The constructed nests help to improve the conservation status of the species by providing shelter to this very beneficial bird for people, as it feeds mostly on insects such as grasshoppers and onion-eaters, and to a lesser extent on mice, which affect agricultural produce.

The European project "LIFE for Lesser Kestrel" LIFE19 NAT/BG/001017 of the LIFE Programme is being carried out in Bulgaria and Greece, in collaboration with the Bulgarian environmental organization Zeleni aлкани / Green Balkans NGO and the University of Thessaly. The goal is to enhance the reproductive range of the Lesser Kestrel by establishing and developing colonies in Greece, as well as improving knowledge and capacity for its conservation.