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Construction of artificial nests on the Elasa islet, Crete

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Construction of artificial nests on the Elasa islet, Crete

September 19th, 2019|Events, News|

Construction of artificial nests on the Elasa islet 

Management actions for improvement of nesting site availability for Falco eleonorae on the pilot area. (© J.Fric/NCC)

Region of Crete (PP7), implemented management measures in order to improve the quality and increase the availability of nesting sites for the benefit of Falco eleonorae. As a result, the field teams of PP7 constructed artificial nests in the protected area (Northeastern egde of Crete). The activity tool place on the Elasa islet on 19/09/2019 organized by PP7’s scientific expert “Nature Conservation Consultants” in cooperation with the University of Crete – Natural History Museum of Crete in the context of the impementation of the pilot action plan.

What is Eleonora’s Falcon?

Eleonora’s Falcon is a medium-sized migratory raptor. It breeds on the islands of the Mediterranean Sea and West Africa and in October and November it migrates to Madagascar and East Africa to winter, from where they return in April and May. Greece hosts more than 85% of its global breeding population.

The pressures that Eleonora’s Falcon faces:

Deterioration of breeding habitat conditions due to climate change in the pilot area consists one of the most serious threats for Eleonora’s Falcons breeding colonies.

The methodology that Crete’s team followed

Construction of artificial nests on Elasa islet. (© M.Dretakis/NHMC)

The action involves the establishment of artificial nests in order to increase the availability of nesting sites for Eleonora’s falcon in view of the impacts of climate change on the habitat quality of its breeding areas. The technical specifications regarding the sites of artificial nests construction, their technical specifications, as well as their monitoring methods are based on the experience and know-how of the Crete’s team gained through the construction of artificial nests for the Eleonora’s falcon in the context of numerous LIFE projects.

Artificial nests were constructed based on the specifications regarding nest design, direction, dimensions and layout. The construction of artificial nests for the Eleonora’s falcon aims at (a) provision of shade during the hottest parts of the day to protect the nest from excessive heat, while at the same time provide sun exposure during early morning hours to reduce humidity in the nest, and (b) protection against prevailing summer, mainly northern, winds. The nests were constructed using primarily natural materials found on the islet in order to minimize the introduction of non-indigenous materials to the islet.

Photos and a GPS waypoint were taken for each nest. Moreover, each nest was marked with a unique code to allow for easier future identification.


In early autumn 2019, artificial nests made of natural local stone material, were constructed in the existing colony of Eleonora’s Falcon on Elasa islet. Annual visits at sites where artificial nests have been constructed to check the condition and use of the artificial nests are planned to continue after the end of the project by the Management Body of protected areas of Central and Eastern Crete.

Artificial nests of local stone material. (© M.Dretakis/NHMC)