Birds of prey, mainly species for which protection zones are designated around their breeding sites (the so-called "nest zone species") are among the most endangered species as a result of the transformation of nesting habitats and threats beyond the breeding season. Most of them require forests for nesting and open areas for obtaining food, which translates into multi-level and complex types of threats. Therefore, effective protection of these species requires the involvement of a wide range of institutions, organizations and community groups. While the protection of nesting sites of the nest zone protected species is clearly defined in Polish law, when it comes to open areas, threats and protection of this group of birds include many factors, such as habitat changes as a result of the abandonment or intensification of agriculture or the development of infrastructure.


The strategy discusses all types of threats and recommendations, however, we believe that, in particular, it will be useful in the preparation of planning documents at various stages and levels of spatial planning and in strategic environmental impact assessments. Unfortunately, in the case of development projects and spatial planning, information on the zone protected species is collected fragmentarily, only for a specific area where the investment is planned and without an analysis of the cumulative impact on the entire population. Due to the lack of information flow or inadequately collected data, investment projects often contradict the needs of these species, which creates procedural difficulties and increases investment cost. Meanwhile, assuming that the information available in this document will be used in the early stages of investment planning, it will be possible to minimize the conflict between human activities and birds. The strategy contains the latest data on the distribution of selected species (also available in GIS format), their threats and habitat requirements in the Lublin region.


There are many public administrative bodies, non-governmental organizations and private institutions in the region, which have various strategic goals, but are nevertheless obliged to comply with the provisions of the law on the protection of priority species and habitats. There are multiple strategies, spatial plans and development projects being developed, as well as Natura 2000 and national park management plans and projects directly focused on the protection of natural resources. This strategy analyses the most important documents that relate directly or indirectly to nest zone protected bird species. Planning documents of local and regional rank were analysed in order to assess their impact on the populations of these species at the regional level. The results of these analyses for the planned wind farms, afforestation and power lines were presented in GIS against the background of the distribution of breeding territories, which allowed for the identification of municipalities where special attention should be paid to the potential conflict of development projects with the nest zone protected birds.

The project concerned six bird species: lesser-spotted, short-toed and white-tailed eagles, boreal owl, eagle owl and black stork, occurring in 16 Natura 2000 areas: Lasy Janowskie, Puszcza Solska, Roztocze, Puszcza Sandomierska, Ostoja Tyszowiecka, Dolina Sołokiji, Dolina Szyszły, Ostoja Nieliska, Lasy Strzeleckie, Lasy Parczewskie, Uroczysko Mosty-Zahajki, Polesie, Lasy Łukowskie, Dolina Dolnego Bugu, Dolina Tyśmienicy i Zlewnia Górnej Huczwy. 

The project is carried out jointly by the Lublin Ornithological Society (coordinating beneficiary) and the Natura International Polska foundation (Co-beneficiary).

  1. pl
  2. en

Conservation of nest zone protected species in Lublin region

Main activities

Project aims

General information

Głównym celem projektu jest zatrzymanie spadku liczebności dubelta oraz osiągnięcie właściwego stanu zachowania lęgowej populacji w Polsce. Zostanie to osiągnięte poprzez realizację sześciu celów szczegółowych oraz towarzyszących im działań. Wynikają one bezpośrednio z analizy oceny stanu zachowania populacji dubelta i jego siedlisk oraz stwierdzonych zagrożeń, opracowanych w ramach przygotowania Krajowego Programu Ochrony (KPO) dubelta.

Zatrzymanie spadku liczebności oraz osiągnięcie właściwego stanu ochrony dubelta zostanie osiągnie poprzez realizację następujących celów pośrednich:


1) Utrzymanie siedlisk we właściwym stanie ochrony

2) Zwiększenie sukcesu lęgowego poprzez redukcję drapieżnictwa

3) Monitoring parametrów populacji i stanu zachowania siedlisk

4) Konsultowanie aktów prawnych i dokumentów strategicznych

5) Badania ekologii dubelta oraz zasięgu i wybiórczości siedliskowej

6) Koordynacja realizacji Programu i propagowanie wiedzy o dubelcie i jego ochronie.

W ramach pierwszego projektu LIFE na ochronę dubelta w Dolinie Górnej Narwi (LIFE11 NAT/PL/436), zrealizowanym wraz z Polskim Towarzystwem Ochrony Ptaków (2012-16), Natura Int Polska przygotowała Krajowy Program Ochrony Dubelta w Polsce, który został zaakceptowany przez Generalną Dyrekcję Ochrony Środowiska w Warszawie. Na podstawie KPO, przygotowaliśmy wraz z Lubelskim Towarzystwem Ochrony Ptaków, projekt LIFE na realizację pierwszego etapu Programu, w latach 2019-2024. 

Główną przyczyną spadku liczebności dubelta w Polsce oraz zmniejszenia jego zasięgu występowania w stosunku do lat 80-90 ubiegłego wieku, jest utrata siedlisk lęgowych na skutek niekorzystnych dla gatunku zmian środowiskowych, wywołanych głównie czynnikami antropogenicznymi. W latach 90. w. krajową populację dubelta oceniono na 750-900 tokujących samców. Aktualnie jego liczebność szacowana jest na 400-550 samców. W stosunku do lat 90. możemy więc mówić o drastycznym spadku liczebności gatunku sięgającym ponad 40%. Zdecydowanie najpoważniejszym aktualnym zagrożeniem dla populacji dubelta stwierdzonym we wszystkich ostojach kluczowych gatunku jest przesuszenie siedlisk zaś drugim w kolejności ich utrata na skutek zarastania. Jako istotne wskazano również drapieżnictwo gatunków rodzimych i introdukowanych.

Nest zone protected species strategy

As part of the project, a wide package of protective measures was developed and implemented.


At the beginning, phytosociological studies of habitats and food resources were carried out based on precise spatial utilisation of habitats by the lesser spotted eagle and the short-toed eagle using GPS transmitters. These data were used to precisely define the habitat selectivity and threats .


A comprehensive inventory of selected species was made, along with a search for new nests resulting in the update and creation of new nest zones. The creation of such zones around the nests protects their breeding and habitats against disturbance related mainly to forest management, hunting and tourism. At present, there are over 300 bird nest protection zones in Lublin and Rzeszów regions, established by the decision of the Regional Directorates for Environmental Protection (RDOŚ). Based on the results of the above research and activities, a strategy for the protection of zone protected birds in the Lublin region was developed, with particular emphasis on the location of wind farms and other infrastructure.


In order to create favourable nesting conditions for the eagle owl, lesser-spotted eagle and black stork, 75 nesting platforms were installed. They were built near all nesting areas of the eagle owl, as well as in selected areas of the black stork and lesser spotted eagle.


Another protective measure was moving the younger lesser-spotted eagle hatchling to the nests with the loss of the brood for adoption by territorial adult birds. As a result of a process called Cainism, the younger chick is almost always killed by the older sibling. The younger chick was placed in the care of territorial birds, which lost their brood early in the breeding season.


Moreover, favourable habitat conditions for the lesser spotted eagle were restored through the restoration of 100 ha of abandoned meadows. It is a standard protection measure for birds that need easy access to their prey (storks, birds of prey), i.e. relatively short grass. In the case of abandoned meadows, after a few years, they become too overgrown, and it is difficult for these birds to see the prey or even move in such habitats.


To reduce mortality from electrocution, insulators were installed on 100 electrical transformers located within the feeding grounds of birds of prey. This is of particular importance for birds of prey, the eagle owl and the black stork. Birds, especially young ones, which use such places for hiding or resting.


Other measures concerned the population of boreal owl in Lasy Janowskie and Puszcza Solska. Unfortunately, the disappearance of optimal habitats (old pine stands, over 120 years old, with hollows left after the black woodpecker) in commercial forest stands has been observed for several years. Based on the experience of Scandinavian ornithologists, we put nest boxes in boreal own territories (80 in total). In addition, we protected the nest boxes against the pine marten by installing a thin sheet metal collar to the trunk, which was preventing the destruction of the brood by a predator.


Finally, educational and promotional activities aimed directly at farmers and children had a wide impact on local communities, with the following aims:


  • making people aware of the differences between species of rare, zone protected birds,
  • making the local community proud of the place they come from,
  • increasing the level of knowledge about Natura 2000 network, in particular about priority bird species,
  • making people aware of the harmfulness of poisoning foxes with carrion poisoned with furadan on birds of prey

The main goal of the project was to improve the nesting and foraging conditions of rare, nest zone protected species in the Lublin region, which is one of the most diverse regions in Europe in terms of wildlife and landscapes.


The main goal of the project was achieved by minimizing the following risks:

  • disturbance of birds at nests,
  • reduction of the foraging grounds of the lesser-spotted and short-toed eagles,
  • bird mortality as a result of electrocution,
  • bird mortality as a result of poisoning, especially white-tailed eagle
  • lack of, and predation of nesting sites, especially eagle owl and boreal owl
  • uncontrolled development of infrastructure and buildings,
  • lack of strategy for the conservation of nest zone protected species species.


Foundation Natura International Polska is registered in the National Register of Associations in Poland (KRS): 0000308204. VAT: PL5783045121. REGON: 280381278

Address: Żyzna 18/16, 15-161 Białystok, Poland. Tel: +48 58 7356529. E-mail: