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Breeding success of Eleonora’s falcon in Cyprus revisited using survey techniques for cliff-nesting species

Citation

Kirschel, Alexander et al. (2021), Breeding success of Eleonora’s falcon in Cyprus revisited using survey techniques for cliff-nesting species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cvdncjt1z

Abstract

The global breeding population of Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae) is distributed from the Canary Islands in the west, across the Mediterranean Sea, to Cyprus in the east. The remoteness of nesting colonies, which are predominantly located on sea cliffs and islets, renders breeding success estimation a challenging task, requiring a composite approach to assess each of the breeding stages. Early estimates of the breeding success of Eleonora’s Falcon suggested that the Akrotiri colony in Cyprus had the lowest breeding success among all the colonies throughout the species’ breeding range, at a level seemingly unsustainable, suggesting the colony might have been in danger of gradual extinction. Here we use a diversity of survey methods including boat, ground, and aerial surveys, with the incorporation of photography and photogrammetry, to reassess the breeding success and the effect of nest characteristics on the Eleonora’s Falcon breeding population in Cyprus. During a 6-yr study, we found that Cyprus hosts ~138 ± 8 breeding pairs and that breeding success equals 1.54 ± 0.85 fledglings per breeding pair, and thus is considerably higher than previous estimates. In addition, by analyzing temporal variation in breeding and nest characteristics, we found that early breeding and reuse of nests positively influence breeding success, but physical nest characteristics have a limited effect on colony productivity. The range of survey methods employed, as well as the array of photography techniques utilized, enhanced the efficiency and accuracy of this study, allowing us to overcome the challenge of inaccessibility of nesting cliffs.

Methods

The dataset is raw survey data from monitoring Eleonora's falcon nest sites using a variety of methods described in the paper. Also included in separate sheets are the code used to analyse the data - R code for statistical analyses and python code to produce a digital surface model of the nesting cliffs.

Usage Notes

The raw data used in statistical analyses are all provided along with the R code. The data have all been combined here into one dataset though analyses were performed on subsets of the data as described in the manuscript. The script to produce the digital surface model is provided but we do not provide exact coordinates because of sensitivity of falcon nest sites to disturbance.

Funding

Joint Natural Conservation Council

A.G. Leventis Foundation

Sovereign Base Areas Administration

Joint Natural Conservation Council

Sovereign Base Areas Administration