During 2014, we applied action to protect Montagu’s harrier nests in cereal crops. The main objective of this project was to promote and preserve the populations of Montagu’s harrier at Castro Verde Special protection area (Portugal). Harvesting cereal with machinery in the planes of Southern Portugal is a big conservation issue for harriers that are still incubating or with small chicks, often resulting in many bird deaths. Therefore protective measures are necessary at the nest site.
Nests that are in danger of distruction were identified and protected using special fencing. Fences were signaled to provide clear indication of nests location to farmers during cereal harvesting whilst also providing adequate protection against natural and domestic predators. After nest protection we conducted monitoring studies during the remaining reproduction season to determine reproduction success.
The data collected was used to develop a campaign to create public conservation awareness and education, to capture the interest of the farmers and local populations to some of the most fascinating creatures of the semi-natural steppe plains of Southern Portugal.