Turkey and the Imperial Eagle

Andris has already posted about the research of the Imperial Eagles in Turkey and the 6th expedition he participated in. This spring (2012) I had a chance to join the field team again since Marci couldn’t being too busy with other matters. We spent 9 days in Turkey and a few more in Bulgaria helping out the staff of the BSPB.

The plan was quite simple: to survey certain areas stood out by the data coming from bulgarian satellite tagged birds. In the most important of these areas there was already a sole observation of a displaying adult IE from an earlier trip. Surely it was enough to presume a breeding population. We eventually found 10 new territories and 6 nests in this basin. Unfortunately there was no time to search the whole area but most likely some new pairs will turn up during the next trip this summer. Though only the next trip will reveal data on the diet composition of the eagles it was interesting to see how dense the population of the Anatolian Ground-Squirrel was in some side walleys. No wonder why we found 2 occupied nests about 2 kms away from each other here.

Narrow side-valley with dense souslik population

Narrow side-valley with extreme density of sousliks

Anatolian Ground Squirrel

Possibly the main prey species of the IEs, the Anatolian Ground Squirrel (Spermophylus xanthoprymnus)

Beside surveying the basin mentioned before we also took some side-trips to other areas frequented by the sat-tagged eagles. With one exception these were probably good wintering areas but not for breeding lacking suitable trees. The one I mentioned before was a real gem, though. We stopped here to have a lunch-break and realized that there is everything an eagle can ask for: food (sousliks) and nesting substrate. Shortly after an adult IE showing up clearly proved that our hypothesis was “scientifically” sound.

On the way back to Bulgaria we drove through some mountain ranges of the Central Anatolia Region and stopped anywhere seeing good habitat for the species. These tactics seemed to be a winner again. We could add 3 more territories to the list.

Typical breeding habitat of the IE in this region (Eskisehír)

Typical breeding habitat of the IEs in the region (Eskisehír)

Our final turkish raptor-list tallied 25 species including some good observations like the adult Steppe Eagle or the territorial Lanner. (Keep in mind that the trip was only about the IE)

Steppe Eagle

Ad. Steppe Eagle ( Aquila nipalensis)

During our stay in Bulgaria Tibi Juhász placed some artificial nest on trees found by the BSPB-staff (Mitko and Dobri) and we also did some observation in some promising territories with them but no luck this time. (Actually some kind of a bad luck had kept hunting us since we drove through the turkish-bulgarian border..)

The members of the field-team: Tamás Szitta, István Béres, Tibor Juhász and me.

If everything goes as planned we will report the findings of another IE survey in July.


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One Comment

  1. Posted %A %B %e%q, %Y at %I:%M %p by Koczka András | Permalink

    Gratulálok a munkátokhoz!


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