Only a dozen green crow nests found in Latvia this year

The green crow nests surveyed by the Latvian Ornithologists' Society (LOB) have seven green crow chicks ringed in Ādaži base this year and 28 in total, LOB reported on December 6. 

In total, four inhabited nests of green crows, or European rollers (Coracias garrulus) were found at the Ādaži military base in 2023. Of the four nests populated, only two were successful in reproduction. In both nests, bird expert Edmunds Račinskis has ringed seven younglings of green crows who have left these nests and gone south for the winter.

'In total, 12 inhabited nests of European rollers were known in the summer of 2023 in the vicinity of Rīga - 11 of them in cages and one in a natural wood cavity. Eight of them were successful. They have 28 green crow chicks, seven of them in the Ādaži base,” Račinskis said, adding that 120 green crow cubs were ringed at the Ādaži base in a total of 17 years.

Although the green crow was still a common species in Latvia in the middle of the last century, it currently exists only in the forests of Pierīga, where only about ten pairs of green crows nest.

There are so few European rollers left in Latvia that the preservation of these birds is possible only through human help. This is a species that has been on the brink of extinction in Latvia for 20 years and that has only survived thanks to the enthusiasm of volunteers in maintaining green crow cages and the responsiveness of donors, LOB stressed.

The survey of European roller nests at the Ādaži military base in 2023 was carried out by the Latvian Ornithology Society at the order of the State Center for Defense Military Objects and Procurement.

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.

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