The nest boxes for lesser kestrels – my home is my fortress!

Jan. 25, 2023
The man-made nest boxes (or nesting platforms) are of paramount importance for the recovery of the lesser kestrels and in strengthening their colonies.

Every single detail of their construction, their placement and positioning, the material they are made of, their dimensions, etc., have an impact on the successful occupation by the lesser kestrels, on the safe rearing of the young, and on their survival. Sometimes, female birds are so attached to their nests that they literally defend them as their fortress and fight with other females almost to the death. This determines the need not only for quality nest boxes, but also for a sufficient number and variety of models in the area of the colonies. 

With all this in mind, the experts of Green Balkans NGO work purposefully and consistently to improve the nesting platforms and adapt them to the specific local conditions ever since the restoration of the species in Bulgaria started. This direction is further developed by the team from project "Life for lesser kestrel" LIFE19 NAT/BG/001017, implemented by Green Balkans with the support of the European Union LIFE Programme.

The goal is to provide nest boxes that provide maximum protection from predators and competing species, optimal temperature and ventilation in the nest chambers, and insulation from moisture and other unfavourable conditions. Given the importance of all this, our colleague Stilyana Yaneva is in the process of developing a PhD dissertation on the nest boxes used by the lesser kestrels in Bulgaria.

The scientific research is developed in the Department of Agroecology and Environmental Protection, part of the Faculty of Plant Protection and Agroecology of the Agricultural University Plovdiv. As a result of the research and the testing of different types of nest boxes, a completely new model was developed made out of modern materials with extremely good thermal insulation and moisture insulation properties.

The nesting platform is made by Hilltop Ltd. – Yambol, and in the coming season the company will donate several new nest boxes to Green Balkans. They will be installed in the colony of lesser kestrels in the village of Levka in Sakar SPA, part of the ecological network Natura 2000.

This is the place to thank all the other companies that over the years have supported our work on the restoration of this species in Bulgaria and have shown patience, creativity and an innovative approach, and which have tolerated our probably "strange" requirements arising from the nature of working with wild animals.