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Hellenic Ornithological Society, photo: E.Eissing
Satellite telemetry of Eleonora’s Falcon migration

For the first time in Greece, satellite telemetry is being used for tracking of Eleonora’s Falcons migration from Greece to their wintering areas in SE Africa and Madagascar, in order to investigate the migration routes followed by the birds.

For this purpose, birds were equipped with light, solar-powered satellite transmitters based on ARGOS system, which are used worldwide to track movements of various animal and avian species. Technological developments during the last years allowed for the creation of lighter transmitters suitable for monitoring of smaller species, such as Eleonora’s Falcon.

In continuation of the LIFE Project «Conservation Measures for Falco eleonorae in Greece» (LIFE03NAT/GR/000091), 4 Eleonora’s Falcons (2 adults and 2 juveniles) were equipped with satellite transmitters in their colony on the island of Andros.


The present research action is being implemented by the Hellenic Ornithological Society in collaboration with the University of Patras and German scientists from abroad with expertise in satellite tracking of Eleonora’s falcons. The fieldwork was further supported by the Andros local voluntary groups and by the Andros Holy Church .

Similar actions have been implemented during the recent years in Spain (Balearic Islands) and on Sardinia and demonstrate that, on the contrary to the earlier perception that Eleonora’s Falcons migrate routes follow the coast of Northern Africa, they actually cross directly the Sahara desert to reach their destination as fast as possible.

Related Websites:
http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?project_id=251&dyn=1256812237
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/275/1653/2887.abstract

The four tracked Eleonora’s Falcons started their migratory journey from Greece to Africa in mid October. Satellite tracking of these birds will continue until 2010 to determine their migratory routes on their return back to Europe and their breeding colonies.

Greece hosts around 85% of global breeding population of the Eleonora’s Falcon, meaning that more than 12,000 pairs breed every year in Greece. As shown on the map below all four birds on their way back from Greece, avoid crossing the Sahara desert by following the direction of the river Nile.

Communication:

Hellenic Ornithological Society
Roula Trigou
Public Awareness Projects Coordinator
+30210 8227937, +30210 8228704, Int.118
e-mail: rtrigou@ornithologiki.gr

Monitoring of Eleonora’s Falcons in the island of Andros
Monitoring of Eleonora’s Falcons in the island of Andros
Mounting of a satellite transmitter on an Eleonora’s Falcon by the research team (Dr. Marion Gschweng, Jakob Fric–HOS, Christina Kassara -University of Patras)
Mounting of a satellite transmitter on an Eleonora’s Falcon by the research team (Dr. Marion Gschweng, Jakob Fric–HOS, Christina Kassara -University of Patras)
Eleonora’s Falcon equiped with a satellite transmitter
Eleonora’s Falcon equiped with a satellite transmitter
One of the Eleonora’s falcons, before released with it’s satellite transmitter
One of the Eleonora’s falcons, before released with it’s satellite transmitter
Iris, before being released
Iris, before being released
Monitoring of Eleonora’s Falcons after their release
Monitoring of Eleonora’s Falcons after their release
Eleonora’s Falcon
Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae
   

Tracking the migration of Eleonora’s falcon

PROJECT LIFE-NATURE 2003
Conservation Measures for Falco eleonorae in Greece (LIFE 03NAT/GR/000091)
Life Hellenic Ornithological Society Natural History Museum of Crete RSPB Ministry of Rural Development and Food
The European Commission
Directorate-General Environment

 
Hellenic Ornithological Society   Natural History Museum of Crete
University of Crete

 
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
 
Ministry of Rural Development and Food
 
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