Thursday, December 14, 2017

Montagu's Harrier Conservation Project

Review of “Montagu's Harrier in La Janda” 2017


Now, at the end of the breeding season and 2017, it is a good time to review the success of this conservation project for maintaining the population of Montagu’s Harrier in the Strait of Gibraltar. The project has been supported by the Andalucia Bird Society by means of a donation.


MIG: Miguel González Perea from Huerta Grande, a principle volunteer to this Project.
PJO: Peter Jones, ABS.
ALV: Álvaro Peral, ABS.

"The measures taken and the support of farmers have not been sufficient to save Montagu's Harrier. Productivity is not back to historical levels and the number of pairs continues to decline. A drastic situation in difficult times as we research and look for different solutions, and at this stage, this is where we are".


An interview and later a field visit were organized on August 10th to evaluate this project. MIG explained the project, which is divided into 2 actions:

1. Land Purchase
Purchase of a 12.000 m2 of cereal fields where 2 nests had been previously observed.
Investment: 750 euro.

Result: It resulted in the successful fledging of 6 young Montagu’s Harriers. Already these fledglings had successfully flown and dispersed.

2. Hacking facilities in Tahivilla.
Investment: hacking facilities and others, estimated at 1000 euro. Permission was given to install the hacking facilities in a plot owned by the “Harinas del Sur” factory. The eggs were brought from Jaén and Cádiz provinces. 12 volunteers fed the chicks in darkness. Webcams and a nearby hide were used for observation.

Result: It resulted in the successful fledging of 9 young Montagu’s Harriers. On our visit they had already successfully fledged and dispersed. The last one was supposed to be at the hacking station at that time, what we saw was a flying Montagu’s Harrier a few meters from the facilities. 

The written account above is as stated by MIG.

MIG also explains they have led related educational campaigns in 3 nearby schools.

We asked MIG about their crowdfunding campaign and he tells us those funds will be used on next season’s projects, i.e. same actions as those mentioned above, but with further help from the Andalucia Bird Society it can be expanded accordingly.

We explained to MIG that the ABS logo should be more visible given our involvement. MIG said no advertisement had been made for sponsors, but they will feature in the final report (in the upcoming weeks).


Considering all that’s been achieved this season - 15 Montagu’s Harriers successfully fledged- for very little money, we do think this is an interesting project to be supported by the Andalucia Bird Society in the upcoming years.

A strategy for ABS involvement should however be agreed before any future donation is considered and also agreed facilities for the Society's members to visit and be kept up to date on this important project.

Update. The Andalucia Bird Society has agreed to act as the major sponsor in the future, subject to receiving costings for 2018.

Álvaro Peral and Peter Jones

Andalucia Bird 

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