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4000 km away from home – the Lesser Kestrels from the newly established colony in Sakar overwinter in Chad and Niger
11/06/2015
This is the data provided by the satellite transmitters mounted on the birds within Green Balkans’ “Lesser kestrel Recovery” LIFE11 NAT/BG/360 project.
 
Two of the Lesser Kestrels tagged with satellite transmitters have already reached their wintering grounds in Africa. The females BSB and BDS (named after the codes on their color PVC rings) are currently wintering in different regions in Chad and Niger.
BDS, the older individual, which bred in Sakar in 2014 and 2015 (http://greenbalkans.org/birdsofprey/lesserkestrellife/en/Tiny_satellite_transmitters_reveal_peculiarities_of_the_life_of_the_rare_Lesser_Kestrels-p620), migrated in mid-September. According to the data sent by the transmitter, this bird was last recorded in its breeding area on September 15th, and on September 17th BDS was in the territory of Libya in Africa. Within a couple of days, this female individual reached Niger and settled there.
The other bird - BSB, having spent some time in vagrancy to Greece, then back to the area of the colony (http://greenbalkans.org/birdsofprey/lesserkestrellife/en/The_great_vagrancy_the_Lesser_Kestrel_BSB_returned_to_the_area_of_the_colony_-p626), and to Turkey, headed for the wintering grounds on September 26th. For a few days only, BSB migrated actively and on October 2nd it reached Chad and is still there.
 
Until now, there was no precise information about the wintering sites of the Lesser Kestrels from Bulgaria. While it was proven and confirmed that the Lesser Kestrels from the West-European population (Spain) winter in Senegal, there were only speculations that the individuals from the Balkan population spend the winter period in Sudan or South Africa.
 
The so gathered data about the wintering destinations of the Lesser Kestrels from the Balkans could be of great use and significance for the preservation of the species in this critical moment of the birds’ life cycle.
 
For further information, please contact:
Gradimir Gradev, Green Balkans, Project Manager
Lesser Kestrel Recovery, LIFE11 NAT/BG/360
Mobile: +359 885 609 289; Е-mail: ggradev@greenbalkans.org