Action D.4 | Monitoring of the roosting sites (colony population’s esteem)

The monitoring of the roosting sites should take place each year between April and September, when the lesser kestrel is present in the project area.

Methodology for estimating the population of lesser kestrel.
The technique for estimating the the number of the population of the lesser kestrel in the area appulo-lucana is based on a particular habit of this species. They perch on single or group of trees for spending the night.
These trees are those places called “roosts” that most of time are located within the towns, also in crowded areas. The roosts can be single or more sowed around the urban environment depending on the colony’s dimension. Generally the kind of tree utilised as roost is the aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), but sometimes can be chosen other trees like pines (Pinus pinea) or oaks (Quercus ilex), in favourable vegetative conditions.
For counting the lesser kestrels on a considerable number of roosts, several persons are needed, at least two for each roost, which simultaneously carry out the count in the same evening. Practically the persons that are implementing the count stand at a distance which allows a good view of the crown’s tree and of its surroundings. One hour before the sunset the lesser kestrel start to arrive a few at a time, orderly perching on the branches. The observer count the lesser kestrel while it is entering the crown’s tree. The data are then recorded in a card-file which collects inputs related to a) beginning and end of the count, b) tree utilised, c) roost’s location, d) geographical coordinates, e) possible presence of other birds’ species and f) total number of specimens.
This colony’s census is carried out mainly in the pre-breeding period, specifically from the last days of April to the first week of May.
The need to carry out the count simultaneously in the same day and not differently is due the fact that some lesser kestrel can move from one colony to another (from a town or village to another place, especially the not-breeding specimen not linked to the breeding colony. A simultaneous count prevent the operators from miscounts.

During the action of awareness raising towards the roosting sites’ owners, a simple questionnaire will be proposed to the owners, while some workshops (according to the number of owners to meet) aimed at survey groups of citizens will be carried out with the support of a purposely contracted facilitator. This questionnaire will inform through targeted questions about the species’ behaviours, the project and its actions and about the way the initiative proposes to limit the possible little trouble generated by the presence of a lesser kestrel colony in the town. Each communication tool will be specifically thought for the selected target in order to attain the best result in terms of changing in the behaviours. The survey will be conducted immediately at the starting-up of the project and, successively, carried out at the end of each breeding season. Interviews will be also carried out and included within the video documentary foreseen in action E8.


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