Between April and August 2022, a BSPB team carried out regular individual supplementary feeding of seven breeding pairs of Imperial eagles in the Sakar Protected Area.
Five of the pairs benefited from the food provided, with one attending over 90% of all feedings. Another benefited from 70% of them, and a third - from 30%. And another two pairs of Imperial eagles visited about half (50%) of all feedings. The sixth and seventh pairs did not benefit from the supplementary food, failing to nest that year and raise young.
The data from the installed trail cameras document the effect of the supplementary feedings. The photos show interesting footage of feeding pairs of Imperial eagles.
The activity is in the implementation of a measure from the Action Plan for the Conservation of the Imperial eagle: 2.3.2. Artificial feeding of Imperial eagles in winter and is part of 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 aim of the measure is to increase the breeding success of the species. The main problem is the low breeding success of some pairs, and the average breeding success of the fed pairs is expected to increase from 1.5 hatchlings per year to two hatchlings per year.
Feeding during the breeding period aims to increase the breeding success of the pairs. Some of the Imperial eagle pairs have lower breeding success due to the insufficient food base in the territory of the pair. As a result, the second juvenile usually falls victim to aggression in the hatchery (Cainism) or dies of starvation. Supplementary feeding also minimizes the risk of poisoning adult eagles visiting landfills or places where dead animals are dumped.
The supplementary feeding is carried out during the breeding season of the eagles – from the beginning of incubation to the moment of leaving the nest by young birds. Selected pairs are fed once every five days.
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.