The Effect of Pesticides on the Populations of Peregrine Falcon in Meghri District of Southern Armenia

Duration: 2008 

Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE)
Participants: ACE staff and volunteers
Meghri forestry administration

The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment with the support of Peregrine Fund and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in 2008 have conducted  a survey of Peregrine Falco in Meghri district.

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Red field – study area Peregrine nest sites

Objectives:

  • to check the current condition of population (number of breeding pairs) and reproductive success (number of fledglings)
  • to analyze the data and compare it with the data collected in 1990s
  • to inspire local community about importance of Raptors through their involvement in the monitoring of the Peregrine Falcon
  • to increase awareness of Government and Public about negative impact of pesticides and alternative methods of pest control

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Peregrine Falcon оn the nesting cliff

 

Results:

Two long term field trips were organized to the Meghri region, during March and May 2008.

We visited six known nest sites and three assumed ones.

For all of the observed breeding territories various parameters were recorded, such as GPS data, habitat description, elevation a.s.l., slope and aspect, and the height above the ground for the nests, behavior of breeding birds, nestlings and fledglings, food resource, Peregrine competition with other raptors. A number of birds, nests and biotope photos were taken.

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Peregrine Falcon nesting cliffs in the semidesert and forest areas

From all the six known Peregrine nests in Meghri region only one successful pair with two fledglings were found, one site was occupied with two adults, but there were no young, and another site with only one adult bird. All other sites were unoccupied.

Analyzing these data and comparing it with previous ones the decline of Peregrine population in Meghri region becomes obvious. We assume that the main reason for the decline is the poisoning, such as sedimentary reservoirs of the copper, molybdenum and gold mines; use of pesticides for agriculture; forest management in frames of pest control.

During the whole project we worked with the local people from Meghri forestry administration and local enthusiasts. This co-operation helped us to do the data collection more effectively and to explain some details about poisoning and poaching.

Two articles on Peregrine Falcon research results are in process of  publication. 

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Peregrine Falcon                                 Meghri forestry administration 

Table 1. Peregrine Falco in Meghri region, breeding pairs

 

Lehvaz FPLGVZ1 Meghri FPMGR1 Agarak FPAGR1 FPAGR2 Gravi Dzor FPGRV1 Burtinqar FPBRT1 FPBRT2  Nyuvadi AXNVD1
1996      3 nestling
FPAGR1
     
1997     4 nestling
FPAGR1
     
1998 empty 3 nestling 3 nestling
FPAGR2
     
1999            
2000 empty 4 nestling 4 nestling
FPAGR2
  3 juv.  
2001 empty 3 nestling 2 ad   2 ad  
2002 2 nestling   2 ad      
2003 2 ad   2 ad 2 ad   2 ad
2004 2 ad   2 ad 2 ad    
2005          

 

2006            
2007   4 nestling      

 

2008 1 ad
0 nestling
2 nestling empty empty 2 ad 0 nestling empty
2009 2 ad 0 nestling 3 nestling   empty voice of ad  

During the Peregrine Falcon survey we also collected data about Bearded Vulture and Eurasian Griffon nests and breeding success. Comparing data on Griffon with previous ones, increase in breeding pairs and fledglings has been found in some colonies. Also one new colony was found. Bearded Vulture population remained stable.

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Adult Griffon on the nest

Griffon Vulture

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 Bearded Vulture

 Bearded Vulture nest