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Environment

Natura 2000 Award - Adaptation of Eleonora's falcon to climate change

About the project

Main applicant

University of Patras 

Category

Conservation on land 

Countries involved

Greece 

Main N2000 site

DIONYSADES NISOI KAI THALASSIA ZONI (GR4320011) 

Overview

Greece is home to more than 80% of the global Eleonora's falcon breeding population. This migratory bird of prey is highly dependent on the quality of breeding and foraging habitats, as well as on the availability of food sources.  

This species is extremely vulnerable to climate change. The EU LIFE-funded ElClimA project aimed to facilitate Eleonora's Falcon adaptation to climate change by implementing a range of actions focusing on the improvement of its breeding performance and the improvement of the species’ conservation status at its foraging areas.   

LIFE ElClimA targeted the bird’s habitats on seven Greek Natura 2000 sites that host 3 150 breeding pairs. The project partners, led by the University of Patras, ran the largest-ever rat eradication operation in Greece. As a result, 700 hectares of breeding habitats are now free from rat predation, preventing the loss of up to 29% of eggs and chicks.  

The project addressed the issue of rising temperatures on egg thermoregulation by installing more than 1 000 artificial nests.  

To ensure a sufficient food source from migrating passerine birds, the project partners purchased land and planted fruit trees, bushes and cereals for the passerines to feed on. This novel approach increased the overall stopover time of the migrating birds by around 5% in comparison to similar habitats, giving the falcon a more reliable food source.  

In all, the project has led to a 42% increase in the breeding success of Eleonora's falcon in the project area, as well as leading to an improvement for local ecosystems and other important species.  

To ensure that the project’s results can also help other Eleonora’s falcon populations adapt to climate change, the project team shared up-to-date information and lessons learned in a “Good Practice Guide” and shared it with other organisations in the Mediterranean region and Africa.