The objective of this action is to assess the impact of the conservation actions of the project on the lesser kestrel population in the urban SPAs and the post-breeding roosts included in the project.
Specifically, the following impacts will be monitored:
1. Impact of work to consolidate the nesting sites and installation of new nest boxes and improvement of nest holes (actions C1, C2) in breeding colonies in urban SPAs.
To measure the effectiveness of these interventions the degree of acceptance of improved or installed infrastructures will be analysed, the occupancy level of new nest boxes by other species of birds, predation rates of lesser kestrel eggs or chicks by other species and the safety of fledglings (reduced mortality from falling out of nests).
2. Impact of the measures to strengthen the population (action C3) and management of feeding habitat (action C4) on the lesser kestrel population in the urban SPAs and the post-breeding roosts.
The following parameters will be analysed: number of feeding visits made to zones under habitat management, both by breeding individuals as well as in the post-breeding season; availability of preferred prey items (quantity and quality) in the zones under management; effort made in feeding chicks: breeding success in the urban SPAs of the project where this management is being carried out and return rate following migration.
The monitoring of these parameters will be carried out as follows:
- the final census in 2020.
- direct observation by periodic visits to the colonies as planned in the monitoring actions (action F1) and considering the criteria of the Scientific Committee of the project (action F2).
- indirect observation by surveillance video cameras following the protocols agreed in action F1.
- images from camera traps in lesser kestrel nest boxes, activated by movement, which will be also used to detect individuals that will be tagged with transmitters and for taking blood samples to ensure as little disturbance as possible.
- analysis for pesticides, analysis of pellets and periodic sampling of invertebrates (census, analysis of abundance and biomass) in zones subject to feeding habitat management, with a periodicity established during the planning of the monitoring actions (action F1) and a methodology as described in action A2.
- monitoring of birds marked with GPS and satellite transmitters and PVC rings (action A2) allows us to obtain information as well on use of nesting sites and managed feeding habitat.
Monitoring these follow-up parameters will start at the beginning of the breeding season until the migration to their wintering quarters in Africa of the birds that are gathering in roosts.
All the data obtained will be entered in the data base developed in action A1 for annual and multi-year analysis to determine variations recorded, the effectiveness of the measures undertaken in the framework of the project, and the evolution of the conservation status of the species in the urban SPAs.
The reports based on this monitoring will be evaluated by the partners of the project (A1) and the Scientific Committee (action F2), allowing for any changes needed in the conservation actions of the project (actions C1 – C4) if considered necessary.
Therefore, action D1 is fundamental as a review of the correct implementation of the conservation actions of the project, the value of the results obtained, as well as to allow review of the improvement of the conservation of the species in the urban SPAs in Extremadura. Furthermore, and considering that the urban SPAs support more than 50% of the lesser kestrel population in the Natura 2000 network, the information obtained in this action will be key for reviewing the conservation of the species at the regional level.
Responsible for implementation: General Directorate of the Environment, DEMA and Terra Naturalis.