14 • 12 • 2021

On-line Cameras have Allowed Us to have a Look into the Daily Life of Birds and Wild Animals

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It is already the fifth year since JSC “Latvia's State Forests” (LVM) has launched the on-line camera project “Birds and Animals in Marsh”. During this time, a number of assumptions have been confirmed about the success of nesting of lesser spotted eagles and golden eagles, their daily lives and their ability to withstand various challenges, such as looking for feed and fighting competitors. The on-line cameras have allowed us to look at the everyday moments of birds and forest animals that have not been seen by the human eye before.

This year, the nests of lesser spotted eagles in a spruce and a birch on the Big Island were equipped with new equipment and system for improved monitoring of the birds. In the spring, any observer of the on-line broadcast could witness the laying of eggs in the Big Island and Aizkuja nests, and the hatching of the baby eagles in both nests in early June.

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Last year, those interested could watch the nesting of golden eagles. The adult male Virsis was most likely killed that year, and the female Spilve was unable to feed the fast-growing eagle alone, so the young golden eagle unfortunately died that year. The nest has not been inhabited since then. This spring, the nest was visited a few times by the female bird Spilve with another male bird who had reached sexual maturity, but they did not inhabit the nest. Thanks to a camera that has been set up on the passage of forest animals, this year we managed to capture wild boars and an elk in their natural environment.


“In the course of the project, we have obtained valuable and extensive additional information on the feeding habits of lesser spotted eagles, which is summarized in a scientific publication. Our study shows that rodents, mainly woodpeckers, as well as frogs are the most important animals in the nutrition of this endangered species in Europe. We have also documented unique events in the nesting of lesser spotted eagles and golden eagles during the rearing period. For example, one of the destroyers of the lesser spotted eagle's nest turned out to be a northern goshawk attacking the young lesser spotted eagles in their nest. No less important is the involvement of the public in research and raising awareness of the processes taking place in nature,” says Uģis Bergmanis, Senior Environmental Expert at LVM.

The lesser spotted eagles' on-line cameras will resume in the spring when birds return from the warmer regions. In turn, the live broadcast of the golden eagle's nest and bog will resume in full in February, when the days get longer and the solar panels will be able to charge the batteries that keep the cameras and routers working. Currently, the bog is covered with a thick snow cover, which is significantly thicker than in the field, at least 0.5 m, because snow has accumulated in the bog vegetation.

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Both rare bird and other animal species, as well as their habitats and biotopes are protected in the areas managed by LVM. Forestry works are limited or terminated in the places of nesting of protected birds such as the black stork, all eagles nesting in Latvia, etc., and micro-reserves and territories for the protection of habitats are created to make sure that the rare species are adequately protected. In order to preserve specially protected forest habitats and protected animal and plant species, micro-reserves are established, and their area is increasing year by year.