Levant Sparrowhawk Pilot Survey in Armenia

Duration: 2009

 ACE (American University of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia)
ACCL (Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, PA, USA)

The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment in cooperation with Acopian Center for the Conservation Learning (Hawk Mountain Sanctuary) in 2009 conducted a pilot nest survey of Levant Sparrowhawk – one of the least known Western Palearctic raptors.

Several long term trips were organized to Aragats Mt and Meghri area, Yerevan city parks were surveyed as well on a frequent basis.

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Red fields – study areas 

Field trips took substantial part of the project during April – August.

The main aims of the survey were:

  • to standardize the methods of Levant Sparrowhawk nest searching
  • to obtain an idea of breeding density, to identify habitat preferences and nesting success

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The surveys have successfully resulted in overall 17 breeding sites/pairs:

 1. Aragats Mt slopes. No nest found and no territorial pair observed here in 2009.

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2. Yerevan city. 6 breeding sites found, of which:

a) one nest was lost because of the strong wind;
b) one nest wasn’t found, but a male and a female were showing a strong territorial behavior at a putative breeding site;
c) one nest with three chicks;
d) one – with 4 chicks;
e) two nests with two chicks.

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3.  Meghri valley. 11 nests found in this area represent the highest known breeding density in Armenia.

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Due to some circumstances there were missed fledging events for four of the 11 nests – it is not known how many chicks produced each of these four nests. As for the others:

a) four nests hold 2 chicks each;
b) three nests – 3 chicks in each.

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During the surveys a nest searching technique was developed and tested as most suitable from few other methods tried.

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For all of the surveyed sites and nests there were recorded various parameters, such as nesting site GIS data, habitat description, behavior of breeding birds, nestlings and fledglings, interaction with other species and various other ecological information. Data on food was collected and taken few video footages and a number of photographs.

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The information collected in 2009 helped to achieve initial objectives of the pilot project and will significantly contribute to the future surveys of the Levant Sparrowhawk in Armenia.

 

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During the Levant Sparrowhawk surveys we were granted with the discovery of a closely related Shikra (Accipiter badius), two pairs of which were found breeding for the first time in the country.

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