Peregrine Falcons Have Started Their Nesting Period in the Jeseníky Mountains
Even though the mountains have still been covered with a high level of snow, some birds have already started a demanding breeding season. At this time, their eggs have to stay protected from freezing temperatures. One of these birds is the critically endangered peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus). The falcons started nesting in the Jeseníky Mountains after a long break in 2001. Since then, they have bred almost 300 chicks.
"It is at the very beginning of their nesting that the falcons are extremely sensitive to disturbance." If this happens repeatedly, they can even leave the nest. Lower number of visitors to the mountains over the last couple of weeks certainly contributed to the beginning of the nesting period. I strongly believe the visitors to the mountains will remain considerate and will respect occasional limited access to places where falcons and other rare species occur, " says Petr Šaj from the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic.
Contemporary nesting of the peregrine falcon in the Jeseníky Mountains dates back to 2001. Since that year, the population has constantly been growing. Just as the man played an important role in the falcon's return to the nature, so man continues to be involved in the strengthening of the Jeseníky Mountain’s population of this species – by monitoring, adjusting and, above all, by protection of the nesting sites. The historically mentioned twenty nesting sites have gradually become occupied by falcons within twenty years of the first documented nesting. Thus, the return was quite fast and successful. From the very beginning, the Jeseníky population has been closely monitored, and the results have been evaluated on annual basis.
"To monitor and guard the nest itself, or even the access road, we use wireless camera traps with an instant transmission. Thanks to these camera traps we have collected a number of unique pieces of information about the life of falcon families. This information constitutes a valuable base for their protection," says Tomáš Pospíšil, an ornithologist and co-worker of the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, who has played a major role in the monitoring of the falcons since the beginning.
Natural factors such as predators (e.g., marten, eagle-owl or common raven), adverse weather or intra-species competition also reduce the chances of successful breeding. Ensuring a peaceful nesting on the part of a person, though, whether he is a farmer or a visitor to the mountains, is a limiting factor.
Nowadays, the Jeseníky Mountains, with its surroundings, stand for one of the most important falcon areas in the Czech Republic. Falcons could also be spotted in the areas of České středohoří, the Bohemian Switzerland NP (České Švýcarsko) or the Moravian Karst (Moravský kras).
Photo: Petr Šaj