© Svilen Cheshmedziev
For the seventh year in a row, the breeding season for Dalmatian pelicans in the Persina Nature Park has started. In mid-February, during the regular monitoring of the marshes on Persin Island, a team of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and the Persina Nature Park Directorate found that the pelicans had occupied all the wooden platforms built for them – two in the Peschina swamp and one in the Dead Marsh on Persin Island. At the time, experts observed about 120 adult birds actively preparing their nests.
Unfortunately, due to low temperatures and cold weather in March, the pelicans abandoned one platform in the Peschina Swamp and the platform in the Dead Marsh. In addition, due to the low level of the Danube River, no water has yet entered the marshes, which has a negative impact on waterfowl inhabiting these wetlands. This is why the colony of the Great cormorants in the Dead Swamp has once again moved to a small, unnamed Romanian island north of Persin Island. During the monitoring on March 14, our team observed only 50 adult Dalmatian pelicans occupying the large eastern platform in the Peschina swamp. Currently, birds are actively copulating and preparing their nests.
“The weather in February was unusually warm, which in turn encouraged pelicans to start the breeding season. However, the sharp cold in early March forced them to leave the swamps. We hope that with the warming of the weather and the rising level of the Danube, the pelicans will return and occupy all the wooden platforms on Persin Island“, said Svilen Chesmedziev from BSPB.
The news about the nesting Dalmatian pelicans in the Kalimok-Brushlen Protected Area is extremely good. As early as mid-January, the first group of 14 adult birds appeared to occupy the wooden platform. By February 19, some of the birds had already laid their first eggs. During the regular monitoring of the area, carried out by BSPB, on March 16, a total of 29 breeding pairs were identified, which are currently laying their eggs. This is an absolute record for the region! We remind you that last year 3 pairs successfully raised 4 young. Unfortunately, there is no water here in the wetland either, due to the low level of the Danube River.
The season for Dalmatian pelicans in Srebarna Lake has also started successfully. During the regular monitoring in mid-February, carried out by BSPB, our team observed nearly 70 adult birds around the platforms.
In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to monitor the situation with the nesting colonies of Dalmatian pelicans in Bulgaria, hoping to have a very successful breeding season.
The conservation activities of the Dalmatian Pelican are carried out in the framework of the “Pelican Way of LIFE” project (LIFE18/NAT/NL/000716), funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union and with the assistance of the Whitley Fund for Nature.