Issue 2023-4

Ornis Polonica 2023, 64: 261–272

Distribution, numbers and breeding ecology of the Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos in the Polish Carpathians in the years 2019–2023

Marian Stój, Robert Kruszyk, Tomasz Baziak

Abstract: In total 29–34 pairs of the Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos were recorded in the Polish Carpathians (area of 7,730 km2) in the years 2019–2023 (with the density of 0.39–0.43 pairs/100 km2 of the entire area). In total, 13–14 pairs were recorded in the Eastern Carpathians, 13–17 pairs in the Outer Western Carpathians and three pairs in Central Western Carpathians. The population size was slightly higher than observed in 2008–2015, and lower than in 1997–2007 and 2008–2011, however significantly more numerous than in 1993–1996. The mean nesting success in the years 2019–2023 was 65.0%, the mean number of fledglings per breeding pair – 0.68, and the number of juveniles per pair with breeding success – 1.04. The reproductive parameters of the Carpathian population varied from year to year. The highest nesting success (82.4%) was recorded in 2021, and the lowest (50%) in 2023. Total breeding losses (28 cases, 35% of broods) were caused mainly by adverse weather conditions. It is disturbing that there are too few pairs breeding in a given year. The variation in nesting success in subsequent years was affected by several factors such as weather conditions during the breeding season, increased forest penetration, available food resources, which were limited by reduced areas of foraging grounds due to human activity, dispersed housing development, as well as secondary succession and afforestation. The conservation plans currently being implemented for Natura 2000 sites concentrating the majority of the Carpathian Golden Eagle population, focused on, among other things, improving the availability and quality of foraging grounds, should be conducive to increasing breeding success.

Key words: golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos, Carpathians, numbers, distribution, reproductive parameters


Ornis Polonica 2023, 64: 273–287

First breeding colony of Pied Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta in Poland on artificial islands of the Szczecin Lagoon

Dominik Marchowski, Zbigniew Kajzer, Marcin Sołowiej, Sebastian Michałowski, Michał Barcz, Michał Jasiński, Miłosz Kowalewski, Anna Malecha, Maciej Przybysz, Tomasz Rek, Marcin Sidelnik, Maciej Sobieraj, Paweł Stańczak, Łukasz Jankowiak

Abstract: During the years 2021–2023, bird observations were conducted on two artificial islands (Brysna and Śmiecka) in the Szczecin Lagoon, Poland, during the breeding and migration periods. The largest breeding colony of Pied Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta in Poland was detected there, comprising 14 pairs on Brysna Island in 2022 and 25 pairs (20 on Brysna and 5 on Śmiecka) in 2023. The highest one-time abundance of Avocets (adults, juveniles, and chicks) in 2022 was 64 individuals and 118 in 2023. The islands also served as breeding grounds for several other rare and/or endangered species, including the Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (15 pairs in 2023), Little Tern Sternula albifrons (21 pairs in 2021), Common Tern Sterna hirundo (390 pairs in 2023), Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula (13 pairs in 2023) and Little Ringed Plover Ch. dubius (25 pairs in 2023), as well as the Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus (1 pair in 2023). In the years 2022–2023, during the breeding season, 53 Avocets (5 adults and 48 chicks/juveniles) were ringed on the islands. There were 37 recoveries of 18 individuals, mainly from the Wadden Sea area (N=16); the furthest reports (N=2) came from the Iberian Peninsula near Murcia in Spain (2090 km from Brysna). Birds tagged with GPS-GSP transmitters were present on the coasts of the Wadden Sea, Rügen Island, Lake Neusiedl, and in the lagoons of the northern Adriatic in Italy. Maintaining the attractiveness of the artificial islands for rare and endangered waterbird species requires active conservation measures, including regular plant removal to prevent vegetation succession and preserve open habitats. It is also important to limit human penetration in this area, in particular by tourists engaged in water sports, and to monitor and, if necessary, remove predators and other animals that pose a threat to the nesting birds.

Key words: breeding Charadriiformes, active conservation of waterbirds, environmental compensation, biodiversity offsetting, bird conservation strategies, habitat management for waterbirds


Ornis Polonica 2023, 64: 288–312

Avian mortality on Polish roads – results of nationwide research based on citizen science

Karol Kustusch, Andrzej Wuczyński

Abstract: Wildlife-vehicle collisions are a common phenomenon reported all over the world, and the number of roadkilled animals, including birds, is estimated in millions every year. High road mortality of birds is also commonly reported in Poland, yet the problem is still insufficiently recognized in a wide, national scale. We here provide the first analysis of bird-vehicle collisions (BVC) in Poland based on a nationwide citizen science program Polish Roadkill Observation System (PROS) The data presented cover the time span of 2001–2022 and concern 6 109 records of 6 402 dead birds. There were recorded at least 133 roadkilled bird species, including 19 species recognized as endangered. Most BVC (45%) were recorded in urban and agricultural areas where species typical for anthropogenic habitats predominated the Feral Pigeon Columba livia forma urbana, Blackbird Turdus merula, House Sparrow Passer domesticus, Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica). Prominent seasonality of roadkills was observed: the highest mortality occurred in spring and summer (83.1% records from March–August) with a maximum in May, whereas the lowest mortality was reported in winter (December–February; 5.2%). The bulk of observations referred to single roadkills, yet numerous incidents with two or more (up to 18) roadkilled individuals were recorded (e.g. Brambling Fringilla montifringilla, Rook Corvus frugilegus, Tree Sparrow P. montanus). Majority of roadkills were noted on county and community roads (50%), however, per kilometer of road, the highest number of dead birds was recorded on highways and expressways (0.11 ind./km). This paper provides an up-to date characteristics of BVC in Poland, and indicates a range of relationships linking this phenomenon with bird biology and species habitat requirements. We also point out that along with scientific benefits, PROS data can serve conservation and monitoring purposes, and confirms the potential of data collected through the extensive involvement of citizen scientists.

Key words: animal mortality, road ecology, spatio-temporal distribution, bird protection, anthropogenic threats, citizen science


Ornis Polonica 2023, 64: 313–351

Rare Birds Panel in Poland – report of 2021 for breeding species

Szymon Beuch, Łukasz Ławicki, Przemysław Wylegała, Arkadiusz Sikora, Jacek Betleja, Szymon Bzoma, Zdzisław Cenian, Robert Cymbała, Paweł Czechowski, Stanisław Czyż, Piotr Dębowski, Andrzej Dylik, Andrzej Górski, Wojciech Guzik, Fatima Hayatli, Krzysztof Jankowski, Zbigniew Kajzer, Łukasz Krajewski, Dorota Łukasik, Łukasz Matyjasiak, Grzegorz Neubauer, Przemysław Obłoza, Sławomir Sielicki, Bartosz Smyk, Krzysztof Stasiak, Łukasz Wardecki, Marcin Wężyk, Maria Wieloch, Bartłomiej Woźniak, Monika Zielińska, Piotr Zieliński, Tomasz Chodkiewicz

Abstract: The report presents the results of the Rare Birds Panel for breeding species in Poland in 2021. The status of breeding populations of 32 rare taxa (30 species and 2 subspecies) was summarized, including their abundance, distribution and trends. Record high abundance was recorded for: Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus (308 pairs), Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca (36 p.), Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (40 p.), Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (10 p.), Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax (1315 p.), Great White Egret Ardea alba (845 p.) and Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus (68 p.). In addition, increases in abundance were recorded for: Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina (44 p.), Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata (88 p.) and Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa (11 p.). The declining trend was detected for: Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula (179 p.), Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (381 p.), Great Snipe Gallinago media (486 males), Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus (68 p.), Osprey Pandion haliaetus (30 p.), Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus (4 p.), European Roller Coracias garrulus (16 p.), Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria (min. 1 p.) and Redwing Turdus iliacus (0–2 p.). Populations of Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca (102 p.), Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga (18 p.), Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos (30 p.), and Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola (4724 p.) remained stable. Fluctuations or unknown trends in abundance were observed for Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (118 p.), Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata (193 p.), Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis (77 p.), White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus (4127 p.), Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola (30 p. outside the Biebrza Valley), and taxa whose abundance did not exceed 10 p.: Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta (2 p.), Homeyer’s Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor homeyeri (1 p.), Carrion Crow Corvus corone (4 p.) and Grey-headed Yellow Wagtail M. flava thunbergi (3 p.). There were no breeding records of Canada Goose Branta canadensis, Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri, Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus and Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides.

Key words: rare breeding bird species, distribution, numbers, trends, regions, Poland, report 2021


Ornis Polonica 2023, 64: 352–355

First record of the Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis in Poland

Tymon Świtała, Wojciech Stelmach, Tadeusz Stawarczyk


Ornis Polonica 2023, 64: 356–357

Dyrcz A. 2023. Biologia ptaków. Sorus, Poznań. ISBN-13: 978-83-67139-04-5

Konrad Hałupka

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