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Because the massive harvest of Saker Falcons (Falco cherrug) in Central Asia has already impacted local populations at least in Kazakhstan, because falcon smuggling has recently become rampant in China, and because a government-authorized harvest has begun in Mongolia, we sought measures to bolster numbers in Mongolia before the population can decline there. In three expeditions (1994, 1995, and 1997), we located over 120 Saker Falcon eyries in Mongolia. Over 20% of these were on man-made structures. Because so many falcons were already nesting on artificial supports, we decided that the creation of artificial eyries on man-made supports would be the most efficient means of expanding saker populations. Two other factors also recommended the creation of artificial eyries. First, most of Mongolia is open steppe with good prey populations but without trees or cliffs that might support falcon eyries. Second, in the open habitat, man-made supports are often available but nests are often absent. In 1997, we created 65 new nest sites and enlarged or modified another 15 previously used falcon eyries. This paper reports the extreme variety in sites used by Saker Falcons in Mongolia, and occupancy rates on artificial eyrie supports.
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Eyrie enhancement measures to bolster Saker falcon populations in Mongolia