Lesser Kestrel Recovery in Bulgaria is a Green Balkans and partners’ initiative which is among the finalist in the Cross-border cooperation and Networking Category.  
After 5 years of hard work the Green Balkans’ team has successfully reintroduced the Lesser Kestrel, an extinct species, in Bulgaria’s nature.
We have no knowledge of similar pictures of Lesser Kestrels in snowy conditions to have been taken anywhere else in Europe!
This year the Lesser Kestrel returned from Africa, again ahead of spring!
The visit was part of a Cross-border Cooperation Programme INTERRE-IPP Bulgaria – Turkey 2014-202 for the European Union Project.
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Lesser Kestrel
Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni, Fleischer, 1818) is a small falcon species that is a useful ally of man in combating pests in agricultural landscapes. Once considered among the most abundant birds of prey in Europe, today, due to agriculture intensification, farmland abandonment, loss of nesting sites and intensive pesticide application it has an uncertain future.
Lesser Kestrel is strongly attached to agro-environmental landscapes, showing high preferences towards extensively managed wheat crops and extensively grazed or otherwise maintained pastures. The species is an essentially insectivorous, opportunist feeder, capable of exploiting a wide range of terrestrial and aerial prey.
Lesser Kestrels are often nesting in urban areas, as they provide nesting sites and reduced nest predation and are usually surrounded by agricultural fields or open uncultivated grasslands, securing food sources. The species is therefore highly dependent on human activity not only for foraging areas but also in terms of available nesting sites.
In the past, the Lesser Kestrel was widely spread in Bulgaria, nesting “everywhere” in the mid-19th century. At present, there are no Lesser Kestrel breeding pairs confirmed in Bulgaria.