Focus on kestrels

Topic area
Environment, biodiversity, nature conservation

Disaggregation level
Animal welfare
Nature conservation
Education & lifelong learning

Project region

Local Action Group (LAG)
LAG Regionalmangement Bezirk Imst

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period
21.02.2018-31.01.2019 (geplantes Projektende)

Project costs overall

Subsidy from LE 14-20

EN - 19.2.1. Umsetzung der lokalen Entwicklungsstrategie

Project initiator
Gemeinde Mils bei Imst

Short description

In the project "Focus on kestrels" a breeding pair of kestrels is observed by different cameras during brood care in the church tower of the municipality of Mils near Imst. The aim of the project is to generate a better understanding of the breeding habits of these birds of prey. The project is aimed at the population at large but also serves to raise awareness in schools and kindergartens.

Point of departure

In 2008, the revitalisation programme of the Milser wetland provided the impulse for a more intensive debate about nature in the municipality of Mils near Imst. The revitalisation programme was then accompanied by Anton Vorrauer, a WWF employee and conservation area manager of the Mils wetland. Through its involvement, two awareness-raising projects were started in the school of Mils. One project was dedicated to the great mouse-eared bat, a species of bat that is very common in Austria, and one project was dedicated to the kestrel.

With the "kestrel project" a nesting box was built together with the pupils, which was mounted to the church tower by Mr. Vorrauer in summer 2008. But the falcons were still way off. It took several years until a falcon finally moved into the nesting box. In 2017, after a falcon was seen near the tower, it was decided to install cameras. Thanks to the energetic support of volunteers and supporters, a small budget was raised to provide a temporary solution including a camera. The installation took place at the beginning of March and shortly afterwards the first pictures were taken of a pair of falcons while visiting the nesting box. For the municipality and especially for the pupils an exciting time began. The live pictures were always viewed with great curiosity on and letters from other schools and even from Germany encouraged the actors to push the project forward.

For this reason, in winter 2017/2018 it was decided to run the project more professionally. The initial provisional solution tended to break down and the purchased cameras would probably not survive permanently the adverse conditions high up in the church tower. Since a professionalization was always associated with costs, the actors approached the municipality and the regional management of the Imst district. Together they developed the project "Focus on kestrels".

Targets and target groups

As already mentioned, the current provisional solution is not able to guarantee the permanent observation of the kestrels. In the last year, cameras failed or the transmission did not work. The aim of this project is therefore to professionalize the camera equipment. In addition to optimal camera equipment adapted to the climatic conditions, this also includes optimal orientation and sound transmission. Furthermore, the project also aims to improve data- and internet transmission. Data storage should also be installed for later assessment and pedagogical use. In addition, the project should also contain an awareness-building component. Last but not least, an exchange of information should also take place with the relevant bodies in the region.

Project implementation and measures

The project "Focus on kestrels" comprises the following measures:
   -  Establishing a new professional camera system in the breeding nest. The camera system enables different perspectives into the nest and allows sound recordings.
   - Design and printing of a folder for schools to raise awareness

Results and effects

Until now, the following goals have already been achieved:
    - Establishing of a weatherproof and professional camera system including sound transmission
    - Live transmission of the entire breading period over the Internet
    - Ongoing documentation of the data relevant to the breeding biology by an expert