Understanding the year-round movement behaviour is fundamental for the effective conservation management of an ecologically important species. In the heavily human-modified landscape of Central Europe, Saker Falcons Falco cherrug have adapted to intensively managed agricultural habitats, often nesting and roosting on electrical pylons. We studied the ranging behaviour and habitat selection of one juvenile and three adult Saker Falcons equipped with GPS/GSM loggers in the Czech Republic and Austria between 2015–2017. Upon release from a rescue centre, the juvenile Saker Falcon used temporary settlement areas (TSAs) with a median size of 231 km2 (minimum convex polygons, MCP 95%). Median of breeding season home ranges for the three adults was 15 km2 over six breeding events. After breeding period, the adults remained close to the nest site, occupying an area with median of 10 km2 until they departed for their autumn migration. Departure dates ranged from 21 September to 9 November. Winter TSA sizes had median of 99 km2. Adults returned to the breeding area between 12 February and 4 March. Annual breeding home ranges overlapped by approximately 84–99% indicating high site fidelity. The most utilised land cover types within winter TSAs included arable land and heterogeneous agricultural areas. Analysis of night-time roosting sites showed a substantial preference for high voltage pylons compared to trees. Our results could benefit conservation planning and species management practices, focusing on both improving the safety of anthropogenic elements and increasing habitat diversity.
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18 March 2022
Individual Movements and Habitat Use in Temporary Settlement Areas, Wintering Grounds and Breeding Areas of Saker Falcons Falco cherrug in the Pannonian Basin
Vol. 56 • No. 2
Vol. 56 • No. 2