Marsh harrier in Schleswig-Holstein


Relocation of breeding sites of the marsh harrier (Circus pygargus) in Schleswig-Holstein - Analysis, evaluation and recommendations for action  

In order to get to the bottom of the causes of the relocation of the breeding place and the increasingly unsteady occurrence of the Marsh harrier in Schleswig-Holstein, a multi-year research project financed by the Ministry for Energy, Environment and Rural Areas (MELUR) from species protection funds is to investigate
-    what are the causes of this development,
-    whether this has a negative impact on the conservation status of the marsh harrier in Schleswig-Holstein, for example through poorer breeding results,
-    what appropriate measures can be proposed to counteract emigration if necessary.

The research project is based on a number of hypotheses. On the one hand, it is to be examined whether changes in the attractiveness of the breeding habitats in the respective natural areas are causal. It is conceivable, for example, that changes in the phenology of breeding habitats, different developments in predator density or anthropogenic disturbances caused by the maintenance and erection of wind turbines may have a different impact on the choice of breeding site in the Marsch, Geest and Hügelland. 
On the other hand, the attractiveness of the available food habitat may have developed differently in the respective natural areas. Here, too, both a loss of attractiveness of the food habitats in the marshes and an increase in attractiveness of those on Geest and in the Hügelland would be possible. 
The methods envisaged are therefore aimed at identifying any differences between the natural habitats. In order to characterise the breeding habitats, phenological data will be collected at the time of settlement, but also existing data, for example on development with wind power plants or predator density, will be evaluated using statistical and geostatistical methods. Land use data will also be analysed in this way to characterise the food habitat. An important building block is to be the irradiation of individual marsh harriers in order to document the land use. Furthermore, the spectra of prey are to be determined with the help of photo traps, observation of prey-introducing alto-birds and analyses of prey.


Project information:

Duration: 2016-2019

Project participants: Christian Hertz-Kleptow M.Sc., PD Dr. Ing. Heinrich Reck

Supporter: Ministerium für Energiewende, Landwirtschaft, Umwelt und ländliche Räume (MELUR) SH