© Dimitar Demerdziev
In mid-May, experts from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (Dr. Dimitar Demerdzhiev, Dr. Dobromir Dobrev, and Atanas Delchev) visited Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, where they met with leading experts in the conservation of Spotted Eagles in the Baltic region.
During the visit, the team observed differences in the habitats of the Lesser Spotted Eagle in the northern and central parts of its range compared to those in Bulgaria, which falls within the southern part of its range. The differences were noted in terms of threats to the eagle and its food base. Another interesting observation was the cases of hybridization between the Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagles. “In these cases, the pair usually consists of a male Lesser Spotted Eagle and a female Greater Spotted Eagle. Both species have differences in their habitats, with the Greater Spotted Eagle preferring marshy areas and wet meadows near forests, but gradually the Lesser Spotted Eagle displaces it due to its larger population and hybridization,” shared Dr. Dimitar Demerdzhiev, an expert in raptor conservation in BSPB.
During the meetings with their colleagues in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, the team from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds discussed collaborative work on a future project focused on the conservation of the Greater Spotted Eagle. In the coming years, Bulgarian scientists will monitor the species and its habitats during migration and wintering, when it is mainly encountered in Bulgaria. Dr. Demerdzhiev explained that due to climate change and the increasing average temperatures, the Greater Spotted Eagles increasingly choose to winter in Bulgaria. It will be interesting to determine which portion migrates and which remains, as well as identify the threats they face.
The working visit was part of the LIFE project “LIFE for Eagle’s habitats,” which aims to create new habitats supporting biodiversity in Dobrudzha, providing resting places and food sources for all migratory birds traveling to and from Northern Europe. Similar projects fill gaps in knowledge about eagles, helping to ensure their conservation and maintaining stable populations in Bulgaria.