Eastern Imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca) is a globally vulnerable bird species breeding in Eastern Europe and Asia. Doğa’s efforts to conserve this species and its habitats are carried out with BirdLife partners in Bulgaria (BSPB) and Hungary (MME).
Our studies have shown that, in Turkey, Imperial eagles breed as two large groups and our work over the last three years has led to the discovery of a previously unknown population consisting of more than 20 pairs breeding in the Bolu-Gerede region located between Istanbul and Ankara. Additionally, 19 nests were found in Thrace. In 2009, two juveniles were tagged with satellite transmitters to gather data on the distribution, migration habits and preening grounds of this vulnerable species.
In our ongoing work, breeding grounds of 20 and 25 pairs are monitored regularly. Our research has revealed that the Imperial eagle population in Turkey is in fact larger than expected. Still, the size, range, productivity and threats affecting this population need to be further clarified and monitored in order to provide a baseline for future conservation activities.
Our aim is to collect data on population figures and the breeding success of the species to identify the factors threatening the species in its breeding grounds, and to identify the key prey on which the population feeds. Results have so far shown that in Gerede region, 75 percent of breeding trials in 2009 were successful. The nest sites identified are visited to monitor the behavior of the breeding pairs and to determine possible threats to the species. After the flight of the offspring, the nests are visited again for any remains of prey in order to identify the species Imperial eagle feeds on.
Photograph: © Özden Sağlam