In October and November, a BSPB team installed four artificial nests for Imperial Eagles in the Sakar Protected Area within the project “Implementation of measures from the Action Plan for the Conservation of the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) in the Republic of Bulgaria” (BG16M1OP002-3.027-0005).
The purpose of the artificial nests is to encourage young pairs of eagles to nest in unoccupied but suitable breeding territories, or to help already breeding pairs choose a safe nest.
About 20% of the artificial nests become home to Imperial eagles. This is one of the most effective conservation measures, as building a new nest is a difficult and energy-consuming task, especially for young pairs of Imperial Eagles.
When installing the artificial nest, the first step is to carefully select the right tree and territory. The place must be away from another pairs’ territory, from dangerous power lines and sources of disturbance such as roads, and close to food resources. Ideally, floaters will be observed in the territory. The tree should be tall and stable.
It takes about a day to install a nest. The base of a wheel-shaped branch is mounted on a tree using an alpine technique. More branches are added to make it massive and solid. It reaches a diameter of 1.5 to 2 meters, thickness up to 2 m and sometimes weighs about 200 kg. It has been used by eagles sometimes for decades. The most appropriate time for the installation of an artificial nest is the end of autumn and the beginning of winter so that in winter or early spring the eagles can occupy and finish them.
The project is funded by the Operational Programme “Environment”, under priority axis NATURA 2000 and biodiversity, procedure “Measures to improve the conservation status of birds – 2”, co-financed by the European Union through the European Structural and Investment funds.