null Imperial Eagles raised 19 juveniles in Czechia


Imperial Eagles raised 19 juveniles in Czechia

18. 1. 2023

Czech population of Imperial Eagle grew up during 2022 by 19 young birds.

This is the highest number of juveniles reported from 1998 when this endangered bird of prey started to nest in the Czech Republic. Although the Eagles used to nest only in Southern Moravia, during the last year they expended also to Southern Bohemia and Central Moravia for the first time. 

Humans represent the biggest threat for the species whether disturbing them during the nesting period or directly poisoning the birds. Czech Ornithological Society has been therefore directly involved in their protection using dogs and being part of the Pannon Eagle Project

Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) is one of the most endangered raptors in Europe. Its population comprises about 4 000 nesting pairs, with most of them nesting in Russia, Kazakhstan and Türkiey. Only hundreds are observed within the European Union but their numbers grow steadily. Ornithologists found 18 territorial pairs in the Czech Republic last year, by four more than in 2021.

Imperial Eagle is a steppe species. The first nest in the Czech Republic was found in 1998 in Breclav area and the population has slowly grown within Southern Moravia since then. During the last year, the population started to expend to Southern Bohemia and Central Moravia, and although these two nesting attempts were not successful, this is a hopeful situation for years to come. The nesting effort in Southern Bohemia was the western most nest of this species within its distribution range,” David Horal from the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic reported. 

We provided two birds raised in Brno area in 2022 with radio transmitters in cooperation with Brno Veterinary Faculty and TB Raab company. “Thanks to telemetry we know that one of the youngsters is recently at the well-known wintering grounds on Hungary-Slovak-Austrian border and the second juvenile unfortunately died for unknown reasons not far from the nesting area,” Horal explains. 

Because we know where the nests are located, we can take effective measures to protect them. Usually we inform forest managers not to disturb the nesting pair. Total of 14 pairs nested out of 18 reported pairs in 2022. Four pairs raised one juvenile, six pairs two and one raised even 3 young eagles,” the ornithologist further added.

Electricity poles, shooting and poisoning are the major threats for the Imperial Eagles. One bird was electrocuted on an electricity pole and another one was found poisoned during the last year. “Any single bird is extremely valuable in such difficult conditions,” Horal concluded.

Czech Ornithological Society identified 36 poisoned birds during the last year, 26 of them were birds of prey. Ornithologists documented over one hundred such cases since 2017 and handed them to the police. Two people have been conditionally sentenced to prison for bird poisoning. Court in Strakonice conditionally sentenced a man for 2,5 years in prison in 2021 for poisoning a White-tailed Eagle and a Raven by Carbofuran. A hunter from Breclav area was conditionally sentenced to 3 years in prison in 2022 for poisoning two Red Kites.

Photos: Hynek Matušík and David Horal

Imperial Eagle's nest with two chicks near Lednice Fishponds National Nature Reserve. Photo: Hynek Matusik

Three young birds were raised just once at the nest in Brno region. Photo: Hynek Matusik

Dead subadult od Imperial Eagle electrocuted on electricity pole near Brno. November 2022. Photo: David Horal