Over the last two weeks, a team from the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds (BSPB) placed GPS-GSM transmitters on seven Lesser spotted eagles thus increasing the number of the tagged birds to ten. Three of the transmitters were placed last year. This activity is new for Bulgaria in the conservation and study of the species.
The birds which were tagged were selected from nests in several Natura 2000 protected sites in Southeastern and Northeastern Bulgaria. Each juvenile was carefully taken from the nest with suitable alpine equipment, measured and marked with a transmitter then returned to the nest. The transmitters are placed in a completely harmless to the eagle way that causes no disturbance and the bird quickly gets used to it. The weight of the transmitter is less than 3% of the bodyweight of the bird and is placed on it with Teflon straps.
In addition to the samples taken from each of the young eaglets, the team also collected some pellets to study the diet of the species. The presence of bones, scales of reptiles, feathers of small birds, and other animal remains in them allows us to accurately determine the species the young eagles are fed within the inhabited area.
For more than 13 years BSPB has used satellite telemetry to study several bird species (Imperial eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, White-tailed Eagle, Red-breasted Goose, and others). Satellite telemetry will allow us to study more thoroughly the species as it will provide more detailed information about its migration route, the preferred places for rest, its temporary habitats, the identification of the threats and causes of death during migration – an extremely important step in the planning of its conservation activities.
The placement of GPS-GSM transmitters on young Lesser spotted eagles is carried out within the LIFE project “Life for Eagle’s habitats”.