As we reported last year, it might seem like a shocking security breach that tiny concealed cameras are broadcasting live pictures from inside a restricted Latvian military facility, but it's all done for a very laudable reason: the showcase the role of military zones as important wildlife habitats.
Green crows are actually not carrion birds at all but known in English as European Rollers (Coracias garrulus), and first set up their nests here in 2007. They are an endangered species, and scored an online hit when their nest was equipped with a webcam, allowing anyone in the world to track the comings and goings of at least some of the residents of Camp Adāzi, which also hosts NATO's multilateral battle group.
European Rollers are one of the rarest birds in Latvia, and live broadcasts from the cage are also part of a scientific research project.
“It is very important to try to record all the green crows arriving at the nest, documenting as much as possible. It is also possible that the nest will be visited by other species of birds. We invite all nature lovers to watch and report their observations in the Dabasdati.lv forum,” said Ādaži military zone environmental protection coordinator Ieva Mārde.
Latvia represents the northern border of green crow distribution, and they return from wintering areas in southern Africa in early May. Egg laying is usually started at the end of May, in the second half of June, the first chicks can be expected to put in their debut appearances.
Ādaži military zone is part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas in the European Union, incorporating a particularly valuable heathland habitat of 10,000 hectares that is home to many rare species.