Nesting Aid Types
Already in 2004 the Austrian Power Grid AG (APG), Austrians transmission grid operator, initiated a project together with the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna to uplift the Austrian saker falcon population.
The core of the conservation project are artificial nesting aids on high voltage power lines (220 and 380 kV) in the eastern part of Austria where saker falcons live at their north-westernmost distribution limit. Until today there are two types of nesting aids mounted on the high voltage power line pylons of the APG: nesting platforms and nest boxes. The nesting aids are filled with gravel and made of aluminium, which is more durable than wood and requires little maintenance.
The nesting platforms are a flat and of a triangular shape with a 15 centimetres high border. With the dimensions of 100 x 100 x 40 centimetres the open platforms are hardly visible from the ground and therefore offer good protection from predators and other disturbances. However, they have one disadvantage: Birds on open platforms are exposed to weather.
Nest boxes, by contrast, provide improved protection from weather since they are only open at the front. They are, however, with 60 x 60 x 60 centimetres also larger and more visible than the platforms. Here the border is 13 centimetres high, in order to prevent the juveniles from accidentally falling out of the nest.