Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Amur Falcon nests and creative support for the Amur Bird Project

Amur Falcon at Muraviovka Park © Arend Heim
The Amur Bird Project still depends 100% on the commitment of volunteers. More than 50 people from 10 countries have worked with us at Muraviovka Park so far. Our main goal is to investigate the threatened avifauna of the Amur region, to identify conservation needs and to raise awareness. Therefore, we regularly present our scientific results on congresses. Some weeks ago a team of us took part in the annual meeting of the German ornithological society (DO-G e.V.) in Halle/Germany. More than 400 bird watchers, conservationists and scientists gathered for the 150th meeting of the society. The Amur Bird Project presented two talks and six posters. I would like to show one of the posters here (in German, see English summary below).

Das Amur Bird Project basiert nach wie vor zu 100% auf dem Einsatz von Freiwilligen. Mehr als 50 Volontäre aus 10 Ländern haben bereits mit uns im Muraviovka Park gearbeitet.  Unser Ziel ist es, die bedrohte Avifauna des Amurgebietes zu erforschen, um geeignete Schutzmaßnahmen identifizieren und Publik machen zu können. Aus diesem Grund besuchen wir auch regelmäßig Tagungen - so auch die 150. Jahresversammlung der Deutschen Ornithologen-Gesellschaft in Halle/Saale. Das Amur Bird Project Team war hier mit zwei Vorträgen und sechs Postern vertreten. Eines davon soll hier nun vorgestellt werden:



Martin Frommhold studiert an der Uni Potsdam und hat sich mit der Nestwahl des Amurfalkens beschäftigt. Er interessiert sich jedoch nicht nur für die Natur, und möchte das Amur Bird Project auf kreative Weise unterstützen:

"Ich hatte im Frühjahr diesen Jahres die Chance an der Uni Potsdam die Aufnahmen für dieses Album einzuspielen. Seit etwa 19 Jahren spiele ich Klavier und das Songmaterial stammt aus verschiedenen Ideen der letzen 6 Jahre. Inspiriert wurde ich zudem durch meine Auslandsaufenthalte in Kanada (Vancouver Island, Northwest Territories) und Skandinavien  und den Wanderungen vor Ort. Die Musik soll die Zuhörer mit auf Reisen nehmen und den Character verschiedener Orte wiedergeben; die Rauigkeit der See, die Tiefe der Wälder,  die Weite der Landschaft umgeben von Stille und doch voller Lebendigkeit. Es befinden sich 6 eigens komponierte Stücke auf der CD mit dem Titel 'Places and Inner Tales'. Die Klänge laden ein tief Luft zu holen und zu träumen.
Für das CD-Cover hatte ich die einmalige Chance mit einer Künstlerin aus Colorado zusammen zu arbeiten. Sie hat nach ein paar Anregungen ein sehr passendes Motiv entworfen und fängt die Atmosphäre der Stücke wunderbar ein.
Die CD's und die Poster in 40 x 40 cm des Coverartworks sind nach dem Prinzip 'pay what you want' zu erhalten auf Konzerten oder nach persönlicher Anfrage. Die Einnahmen der Poster gehen zu 100 % an das Amur Bird Project, hinter dessen Bestrebungen und Bemühungen ich ebenso sehr zu 100 % stehe."


Martin Frommhold is studying at the University of Potsdam. He is analyzing the nest requirements of the Amur Falcon Falco amurensis. This species was heavily hunted on its way to South Africa during migration in India, but it seems that the trapping pressure has decreased. However, we still do not know much about its ecology. Martins aims to fill some of gaps in our knowledge. 
But Martin is not only into birds. He is a musician since 19 years and has now produced a new album, where he expresses his experiences in nature. One can buy his music and the artwork - and the gains of the posters will be 100% donated towards the Amur Bird Project! You can find his music by clicking the links above and contact him at mail@maten-music.de.

Thank you very much, Martin!


English poster summary:

The knowledge about the breeding ecology of Amur falcons Falco amurensis is very sparse. Little is known about criteria to choose suitable nesting sites and habitats. First results from the analyses regarding this fundamental process within their life cycle are presented using data from the floodplains of the Amur river, Muraviovka Park. More than hundred magpie nests (n = 117) were sampled and nest-site specific variables were assessed. 38 nests were occupied by Amur falcons. A recently developed habitat classification map was used to further determine habitat specific variables as much as landscape metrics for the probable effect on habitat selection within their home range. The influence of the assessed variables on nest-site scale and landscape scale were examined using multinomial logistic regression. A variety of machine learning classification methods were tested to see which variables are suitable for predicting the occurrence of Amur Falcons in the area. Results suggest that Amur falcons are relatively opportunistic in their choice of nest-sites, but prefer nests with a domed roof and are able to tolerate breeding neighbors such as Hobby Falco subboteo and Magpie Pica pica similarly to those nests occupied by Amur falcons. Additionally a certain proportion of soil and distance to wetlands show an effect on the occurrence of the species within their home range. These areas might be used for foraging since they mostly depend on an insect diet. There is no evidence for choosing a certain nest height or tree species, neither do the results show an effect regarding the proportion of other habitats such as grassland and shrubs or the distances to streets or settlements. Since Amur falcons can be seen as gregarious and colonial nesters, their nest selection is relatively little affected by habitat proportions and distances. Performance varied between the different machine learning algorithms and classification methods. Random Forest shows the highest accuracy in predicting the probability of occurrence compared to other classification methods using a set of preselected variables. Further monitoring and data assessing will help to deepen an understanding of the nest-site and habitat selection of this insectivorous species.

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