Artificial birds attracted Dalmatian pelicans for nesting in Bulgaria

April 28, 2021

A new nesting colony of the endangered Dalmatian pelican has been settled in Bulgaria. The birds occupied the artificial island in Nature 2000 area “Kalimok Complex“ near the city of Tutrakan. This is the third nesting colony of the species in Bulgaria in addition to those in Serbarna lake and Persin island (Belene).

A wooden platform has been built in the beginning of December 2020 under the scope of the “Wetlands Along Lower Danube – healthy home for pelicans and people” project, run by the BSPB, which purpose is to attract Dalmatian pelicans to nest there. The expertise from the similar project in Persin island was applied, where the building of the wooden island had resulted in the forming of two new pelican colonies in 2016 and 2020, which continues to thrive in the present.

A joint team of experts from BSPB, Nature park Persina Directorate, Nature park Rusenski Lom Directorate and Kalimok Brashlen Ltd. has built a stilt wooden platform, measured 4 x 8 meters, 3 meters in hеight and total area of 32 m2. An innovative method of attracting the pelicans to nesting was used. The team installed three life-size models of pelicans upon the platform, in order to attract the interest of the birds so they will easily adopt the platform as their home.

In the beginning of March 2021 a small group of 10 Dalmatian pelicans was seen spending the night on the platform. On 23rd of April, during the regular monitoring we found a total of 14 birds and three occupied nests on it. An interesting fact is that the pelicans had built their nests very close to the models.

“This is an enormous conservation success and another successful step in protecting this magnificent species. We have already 4 colonies in three nesting places although in the last 60 years there was only one colony in Bulgaria – in Srebarna. Now all of us expect the first newly-hatched pelicans of the new colony in Natura 2000 area “Kompleks Kalimok”, said Svilen Cheshmedzhiev from BSPB, who is a conservation officer working with the species.

Natura 2000 area “Kompleks Kalimok” is an internationally important wetland for the conservation of various waterbirds species. Here a successful project for the restoration of the water regime has been completed, similar to the one regarding the marshes in the Persin island.

Building the platforms and attracting the pelicans to nest has been done within the “Wetlands Along Lower Danube – healthy home for pelicans and people” project, funded by Whitley Fund for Nature. The funding is a continuation of the Green Oscar for conservation, received by Emil Todorov from BSPB for his work on the conservation of the birds on the Danube river.

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