The Danube Delta is one of Europe’s largest and most important wetlands. Efforts by the Rewilding Ukraine team and partners to restore natural water flow here are great news for Dalmatian pelicans and great news for local communities.
At the end of last year and at the beginning of January, a team of experts and volunteers from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) made a great effort to improve the nesting conditions of the protected Dalmatian pelican on the territory of the “Mandra-Poda” Special Protection Area.
At the end of December, an ornithologist Maksym Yakovlev and a zoologist Oleksandr Gaydash traditionally went to the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta to count the Dalmatian pelicans. Due to the war, access to some areas was limited or even closed, but scientists managed to do the counts in many large water bodies of the delta.
At the very end of the last year, the team of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB)/Birdlife Bulgaria visited the Kalimok-Brushlen Protected Area with the mission of improving nesting conditions for the Dalmatian pelicans in the area.
Traditionally at the end of the year, we review all the successes and troubles that the European Dalmatian pelican population faced in 2022. This keystone species, being the ambassador of healthy and well-connected wetlands in Europe, is still very much dependent on conservation actions.
An international census of wintering Dalmatian pelicans on the Balkan Peninsula took place in late November and mid-December. The purpose of the census is to collect data on the number and distribution of endangered Dalmatian pelicans in the study area. Тhe study was conducted in two stages. A census was done at the end of November in the Western Balkans – Western Greece, Albania, and Montenegro. In the period December 9-12, wetlands in Bulgaria and Romania were visited by scientists.
Last week a Dalmatian pelican was found dead due to a collision with the power lines in the area of Tourlida, in the Messolonghi Lagoon. 50% of the power transmission lines within the National Parks of Messolonghi Lagoon and Amvrakikos Gulf Wetlands are dangerous for Dalmatian pelicans and other bird species that breed in these areas, according to a study carried out by the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) as part of the Pelican Way of LIFE initiative.
On November 29, a one-day seminar was held in the town of Belene, dedicated to the conservation activities of the Dalmatian pelican in Bulgaria. The event was organized by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPS) with the support of the Directorate of the Persina Nature Park Directorate – Belene and within the framework of the “Pelican Way of LIFE” initiative.
Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR) launched a vote for a Bird of the Year 2023. The campaign, held in November and December, highlights three species, the Dalmatian pelican among them, listed in the newly published Red List of Romanian bird species.
Last week, the construction of an artificial nesting platform for the Dalmatian pelicans was completed on one of the Danube lakes on the south of Ukraine as part of the “Pelican Way Of LIFE” initiative. The Rewilding Ukraine team hopes that this season the flying giants will build their nests on it.