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Birds of Srebarna Reserve

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Srebarna Lake ornithofauna is one of the main reasons for its designation as a reserve. From the perspective of its diversity of species and the presence of species of high conservation value, Srebarna reserve is of outstanding value.

The birds of the Srebarna Biosphere Reserve are relativle well studied. The first scientific information about them belongs to the Austrian ornithologist Eduard Hodek,who has visited the lake in 1880 (Hodek, 1882). Until the end of 19-th century, the Srebarna Lake has been visited often by foreign ornithologist and naturalists. After a pause of almost 50 years, the scientific interest resurrected , this time predominantly by Bulgarian scientist and conservationists. The bibliography on the birds of the Srebarna Reserve includes 97 scientific papers, reports and other sources.

The number of bird species established at the Srebarna Lake and its vicinity is 230, or 57,5% from the Bulgarian ornithofauna (which consists of 400 species). 132 of them are breeding and 98 - wintering. 58 of all bird species are listed in Bulgarian Red Data Book (1985). Nine species are globally threatened and three of them are presented in Srebarna with stable and unique populations: Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) and Ferruginious Duck (Aythya nyroca).

A. ferina A.nyroca P.nigricollis

The greatest treasure of Srebarna reserve is the nesting colony of Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus). There is a lot of information about the breeding of Dalmatian Pelican in the reserve. Even Hodek (1882) and Reiser (1894) reported for the colony. According to Patev (1950) in 1940s and 1950s, 100 – 150 pairs bred in the lake. In the period 1956 – 1959 the number of breeding pairs varied from 30 to 85, while in 1959 it decreased and there were two small colonies (Paspaleva-Antonova, 1961). Geissler (1962) estimated that the biggest part of the colony consisted of 91 nests and the smallest – 36 nests. In the period 1954 – 1980, an average of 67 pairs bred in the reserve, with big variation in numbers: from 29 to 127 (Michev, 1981). All these data show that Srebarna is a traditional breeding site for the Dalmatian Pelican and that its population fluctuated. There are also some spatial changes of the colony. In the past (even before 1882) the nests were situated in the far north part of the lake. In 1940s, the colony was dispersed and separate breeding pairs bred on floated islets (Petrov, 1947). In present days, the colony of the species is situated in the southern part of northern reedbeds approximately the central open water.

P. crispus

In 2005 (23 of June), in the result of strong North-NorthWest winds and unusual high water level, the reed islet of pelican colony detach from the main reedbeds. The reed islet moved in the south part of central open water - 1 km from the previous place. The young pelicans was sucsessfully raised. This necessitates taking steps about islet fixing in the previous place. The Ministry of Environment and Water and Foundation "LeBalkan" worked to take measures about restoration of pelicans nesting place. In October a new artificial platforms was placed in the previous breeding area of Dalmatian Pelican.

In the breeding season of 2006 the pelicans settled in three different parts of the reserve. One part of the breeding pairs occupy the previous place of the colony (in the north part of central open area), the other are occupy the eastern part of central open area and five pairs are in the vacinity of the so called "Pristana" area (in the western part of the reserve).

In the breeding season of 2007 the pelicans settled on the reed islet of pelican colony in the southern part of northern reedbeds approximately the central open water. There were 150 breeding pairs and 180 fledglings. In the middle of June the colony was attacked from wild boars. But the breeding period was almost ended and there were no negative effect on the birds.

Breeding Numbers of Dalmatian Pelican

Midwinter Count of Waterbirds in 2008

Turdus pilaris - 27 ind. Turdus merula - 9 ind. Accipiter nisus - 1 ind. Buteo buteo - 2 ind. Parus major - 2 ind. Garrulus glandarius - 1 ind. C. coccothraustes - 75 ind. Pica pica - 3 ind. Fringilla montifringilla - 1 ind. Carduelis carduelis - 30 ind.

In the beggining of breeding period in 2008 the pelican colony settled on their tradition place (northern reedbeds approximatly to the central open area). The first pelicans arrived in the reserve in 06.02.2008. There were 70-80 pairs. Unfortunatly in the middle of March the colony again was attacked from the wild boars and this time the negative effect was very strong - they eat all the eggs in the colony. In the result the birds moved in the sothern reedbeds of the lake and established a little colony there - 30-40 pairs.

Created by nevena
Last modified 15.05.2008 14:01

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