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Nine years of the Montagu’s harrier conservation project

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Nine years of the Montagu’s harrier conservation project

Polenergia Group has been supporting the Montagu's harrier conservation programme since 2014, thus implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the EU biodiversity strategy. As part of the conservation measures ornithologists, in consultation with Polenergia, are setting up e.g. fencing around harrier nests so that they are not destroyed during harvesting or other farm work.

Montagu’s harriers are one of the smallest predatory birds in Europe. They usually nest in cereal fields or other tall crops. This species is strictly protected and included in the red list of species with the indication on the necessary active conservation measures. Due to their nesting site, harrier hatchlings are particularly threatened.

As part of the conservation measures, ornithologists fence the nests so that agricultural machinery would not threaten the nests during harvesting and other agrotechnical operations. Additional protection against predators is ensured by spreading an approved scented repellent that is completely safe for humans, animals and the environment.

These birds inhabit almost the whole of Europe in summer, and winter in eastern Africa south of the Sahara (northern and eastern European population) and in eastern Africa and India. Harriers arrive at the Polish breeding grounds in the second decade of April or in the first half of May and leave between August and October.

Thanks to the monitoring carried out by ornithologists we know that two nests of this rare species from the Accipitridae family were protected in 2022 at Modlikowice and Łukaszów Wind Farms. A total of four young birds flew out of these nests in July. In Kostomłoty Municipality, three harrier nests have been protected with a net. Eight birds reached maturity. All young birds were leg-banded by the ornithologists in order to enable tracing their further life and journeys.

Since the beginning of the Programme, 87 young birds have been rescued. Montagu’s harrier conservation measures will continue at Kostomłoty, Modlikowice and Łukaszów Wind Farms. In the area of other projects of Polenergia Group, nest searches are being carried out and if any harriers are found, further conservation measures will be taken.

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 Total
Number of young birds 6 3 4 6 9 17 15 3 12 75

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