Management and protection of the wild breeding population

Publicado: 15 Diciembre 2021
Última edición: 15 Diciembre 2021

Captive reared birds tend to use the same type of nest in which they were raised. Based on this theory, nest boxes were installed along cliffs and a working quarry adjacent to the release site. Ronez, the quarry owners, paid for a UK expert to visit Jersey to help plan, design, and install the boxes.

 

The first nests, in 2015, were inside quarry buildings, not the boxes. Boxes began to be used as competition for nest sites increased. When two nests failed due to being built on dangerous machinery, staff installed boxes and successfully encouraged the pairs to nest in them, allowing quarry staff to continue operations.

 

Nesting activity is closely monitored allowing staff to estimate incubation, hatch, and fledge dates based on pair behavior at the supplemental feed and/or from direct nest observations. Chicks are ringed and DNA sexed in the nest where feasible. Alternatively, fledged chicks that visit the supplemental feed site can be trapped in the aviary when called for food, ringed, and immediately released. This option was used in 2020 and 2021 when COVID-19 prevented access to the quarry.

 

The recently revised Jersey wildlife law gives full protection to chough nests. Staff are now working to increase public awareness and offer nest boxes as mitigation when choughs nest on private property.

Classifications

Category
Asociación
Intervenciones técnicas e infraestructura
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnacional
Nacional
Phase of solution
Fase de planificación
Fase de inicio
Implementación
Monitoreo

Enabling factors

  • Bringing in outside expertise
  • Developing a strong stakeholder relationship - Ronez appointed a liaison officer who works with Durrell to access, monitor, and protect nest sites.
  • An enthusiastic team willing to go above and beyond for the species.
  • Accessible nest sites with an alternative option for ringing juveniles/adults, i.e. the aviary at the supplemental feed site.
  • A supportive public equipped with species knowledge, the means to report sightings, and are respectful of the wildlife laws.

Lessons learned

  • Public awareness and support have resulted in additional invaluable data about dispersal, roost and nest-site selection, and habitat use. In 2021, a new roost site was discovered at an equestrian yard when the owner contacted the project officer questioning the presence of an ‘unusual crow’. A single female chough was identified roosting in the stables with a visiting pair attempting to nest nearby. Despite this, an evaluation of the reintroduction in 2019 identified an overall lack of public awareness. As the reintroduced population grows and new territories form away from the protected release site it will become increasingly important to have an informed and engaged public supporting the conservation management.

 

  • Staffing has been very limited and restrictive. There is no dedicated marketing or educational outreach team. During the breeding season, monitoring multiple sites is only possible if there is a student placement assisting the project officer.

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