We participate in the active protection of bird species of European significance

Project general objective is to contribute to habitat restoration for Annex I species of Birds Directive – Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor), Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) and Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) in SPA Ostrovné lúky through establishing a suitable model management of the agricultural land and restoration of their feeding and nesting habitats.

K tomuto projektu nie sú priradené žiadne novinky

Project title: Conservation of birds in SPA Ostrovné lúky

Project scheme: LIFE+, Nature and Biodiversity
Acronym: LIFE – Ostrovné lúky
Project code: LIFE12 NAT/SK/001155
Duration: 01/01/2014 – 31/12/2018
Budget: 2 672 353 € (50 % contribution by European Commission)

Program LIFE

Project objectives:

Project general objective is to contribute to habitat restoration for Annex I species of Birds Directive – Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor), Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) and Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) in SPA Ostrovné lúky through establishing a suitable model management of the agricultural land and restoration of their feeding and nesting habitats.

Specific objectives:

1. Restoration of feeding and nesting habitats by reintroduction of traditional land management, such as grazing or hay making

2. Restoration of wetlands, pollard willows stands, herbaceous and flower fallows with high diversity of insects as primary food source of all target species

3. Restoration of nesting and perching sites

4. Restoration of biocorridors network that apart from its primary migratory function provides also feeding and nesting opportunities for target species

5. Land lease or purchase with purpose to create land use patterns of feeding and nesting habitats and introduce it to appropriate management for target species

6. Increase of overall landscape and species diversity to support habitat and food requirements of target species

7. Acquiring of accurate and up-to-date scientific data on target species

8. Awareness rising of key stakeholders and public 


Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)

An area of this species in the Western and Central Europe is islet, as it is bound to the sand dunes, dry grasslands, agricultural land and similar habitats. It prefers dry and warm habitats, open landscapes and sandy areas with sparse vegetation. In the 60´s the population of Tawny Pipit has dropped dramatically along with loss of suitable habitat due to land use changes (intensification of agriculture).

In Slovakia, the number of individuals of this species was estimated to be 70 to 150 breeding pairs, with the appearance mostly in lowlands of Podunajská nížina. Recent estimations of abundance within the SPA Ostrovné lúky are 5 pairs.

As nesting and breeding habitats requires Tawny Pipit an open space land overgrown with sparse grass and a small number of tree and shrub vegetation. Habitats with grass and herbaceous plant communities with spots of exposed soil surface are also suitable. In an environment of intensively farmed land Tawny Pipit uses edges of field roads overgrown with short grass and herbaceous vegetation as nesting habitats. Elevated places are used for patrolling, singing and hunting. In the past, the boundary stones of each farm, roadside stones and stone-walls were used for this purpose, however these were removed in the context of land consolidation.

In our climate conditions, the breeding takes place from mid-May to mid-July. Tawny Pipit builds its nest on the ground. It feeds almost exclusively on animal food, mainly beetles and ants.

Conservation status: The Birds Directive – Annex I; threatened; populations are stable in Slovakia.


Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)

Originally Lesser Grey Shrike is the species of dry grass habitats, inhabiting open country especially in the lowlands, which is very well adapted to life in cultivated agricultural areas. However, the condition for its occurrence in such an environment is the presence of trees for nesting of sufficient height and a not-excessive growths of grass (or agricultural crops), which are used for patrolling and prey-hunting. In Europe, it is therefore bound mainly to areas with intensive farming. During the 20th century West European populations have disappeared, except for a few remaining individuals surviving in small, isolated and highly fragmented populations.

In Slovakia, the number of breeding pairs is estimated at 600 to 800, however, this number represents only a fraction of the original population. In the SPA Ostrovné lúky their number is estimated at 5 to 10 breeding pairs.

The Lesser Grey Shrike inhabits a mosaic-like landscape with complex structured habitats (islets of fields and pastures, meadows, agricultural cooperatives, old orchards, edges of forests, vegetation belts with sufficient scattered tall trees). The rapid decline in abundance in the 20th century is associated with the intensification of agriculture and related changes in open countryside. In ideal conditions, this specie lives in open nesting colonies. It builds its nest relatively high (average of 8 meters above the ground).

It feeds on large species of insect – crickets, grasshoppers and beetles.

Conservation status: The Birds Directive – Annex I; vulnerable; significant population decline in Slovakia.

Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus)

In the 20th century there was a significant decline in population due to changes in agricultural land (loss of nesting and feeding opportunities).

At the end of the 20th century, the abundance of this species was estimated to be 20 to 100 breeding pairs in Slovakia. In the past an average number of pairs in SPA Ostrovné lúky ranged from 4  -14.

Red-footed Falcon is an open-land species, which inhabits mainly dry grasslands, steppes and agricultural lowland areas with grasslands and pastures, while avoiding continuous forest cover. It usually uses lines of trees, windbreaks and bank vegetation for nesting and trees and other elevated places for patrolling while hunting the prey.

In optimal conditions the species nests in colonies of up to several dozen pairs. Red-footed Falcon, as well as other Falcon-species, prefers to use old nests of other species before building their own ones (nests of ravens, crows and magpies).

Since the species feeds mainly on large species of insects (grasshoppers, crickets, beetles), it is very sensitive to changes in an agricultural land. It also hunts small species of rodents and other vertebrates and also dragonflies near aquatic habitats.

Conservation status: The Birds Directive – Annex I; threatened; population trend in Slovakia fluctuating / significant decline.

SPA Ostrovné lúky (SKCHVU019)

The SPA Ostrovné lúky (8 729 ha), an open lowland area inhabited by a typical representative of the avifauna Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) represents one of the most valuable habitats for its breeding and survival. The present landscape structure of agricultural steppe with dominant fields, patches of mowed grasslands and remnants of forests or willow stands, supports also Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor) and Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris).

CHVÚ Ostrovné lúky

The area is bordered by three rivers – Danube, Váh and Malý Dunaj, and its character was formed only by the water influence in the past. In the period before water management interventions started (in the second half of 19th century), there still existed a dense network of rivers, river branches, oxbows, marshes, bogs, ponds and irregularly flooded terrain depressions. Currently, there are no natural water bodies in the area and it is cut across by a network of drainage channels.

The present landscape structure is of agricultural steppe with dominant fields, patches of mowed grasslands and remnants of forests or willow stands.

Such landscape supports not only a number of rare bird species (nesting, migratory; Birds Directive), but creates home also for other animal species of European importance (Habitats Directive).

A.1: Study of ownership and user relations in the area (BROZ)

– an extensive database of owners in the area will be created using specialized computer software; users will be identified and localized on the maps; negotiations with the owners who might be potentially willing to sell their land or allow the restoration actions on it will be held

A.2: Expert study on revitalization of feeding and breeding habitats of lowland grasslands and pastures (BROZ)

– locations with the biggest potential of restoration of lowland meadows by introduction of grazing and those where restoration of hay meadows is likely possible will be mapped and chosen; the study will propose best methods to restore hay meadows, ideal seed mixture composition for restoration, mowing models of restored meadows and it will also propose best grazing models for the particular locations

A.3: Expert study on restoration of biocorridors network (BROZ)

– the study will include a list of sites suitable for planting local species of trees, orchards, green belts; recommendations of tree and shrubs species composition and seed mixtures for individual sites will be prepared

B.1: Purchase and/or lease of land (BROZ)

– land within the project site suitable for target species will be purchased (60 ha) or long-term leased (30 ha) to introduce appropriate land management and/ or to implement specific conservation actions

C.1: Restoration of feeding and nesting habitats of lowland meadows (BROZ)

– arable land will be changed into grasslands by seeding of native seeds and introduction of regular management – mowing, hay making; after that these should be periodically grazed; the management of sites will be subjected to target birds’ requirements for favourable nesting and breeding conditions

C.2: Restoration of feeding habitats of lowland pastures (BROZ)

– grazing of domestic animals was the traditional and dominating use of grasslands in the project site in the past, however it was replaced by industrialized animal farming later on; the aim of the activity is to bring grazing back to the project site; an extensive grazing by sheep creates low vegetation grasslands with patches of not-grazed herbaceous vegetation, which provide the favourable environment for various species of arthropods, the important food source of the birds

C.3: Restoration of biocorridors network (BROZ)

– this activity is focused on creating a network of biocorridors, consisting of balks, groves, windbreaks, alleys, field paths and edges, bank vegetation, solitary trees and small groups of trees that will provide food and suitable nesting conditions for target species

C.4: Re-introduction of pollard willows management (BROZ)

– in the past trimming of pollard willows used to be a traditional way of providing fire wood for inhabitants or wicker material for baskets and fences; our aim is to restore the treatment of these trees, because a regular cutting shapes a tree into a branched “head” with a lot of cavities and microhabitats used by insect, what creates a food source for birds

C.5: Restoration of small-scale wetlands (VÚVH)

– up to 50 water bodies will be created situated near meadows and pastures restored by other project actions or as parts of bio-corridors; such distribution helps to create diverse landscape, improves microclimatic conditions and retains surface water runoff; wetlands also provide an important food source for birds

C.6: Restoration of nesting and perching sites for target bird species (Prif UK)

– elevated perches, stone monoliths and clusters of boulders or wooden posts will be placed within the biocorridors and in the proximity of restored or preserved grasslands; nest boxes will be hanged up; all these elements will be used to improve the nesting and breeding opportunities of the target species

D.1: Monitoring of an impact of project actions on populations of target species (Prif UK)

– every year the entire project site and its vicinity will be checked for all breeding pairs of the target species in the period May-July; subsequently the breeding success of the target species will be evaluated

D.2: Socio-economic monitoring of project actions impact (Prif UK)

– socio-economic monitoring will assess impacts of the project on local inhabitant and their perception of restoration actions; direct and non-direct benefits will be evaluated; surveys will be evaluated using standard socio-economic data analysis

E.1: Project web page (BROZ)

– the general public including stakeholders will have an access to information about project activities and results as well as target species through a web page available in different languages

E.2: Publishing of information-materials (BROZ)

– brochures, leaflets, final reports for public, stickers, postcards, posters, calendars will help to inform and educate public about project aims and its importance for the target species conservation

E.3: Installation of information panels (SAŽP)

– 10 information panels, 3 interactive “experience panels” and 2 solar information poles will be installed within the project site to inform visitors about target species and their protection

E.4: Installation of observation towers (SAŽP)

– there will be two birdwatching towers placed in project area which will include two panels: one presenting various land use practices and various habitats and the other one describing a typical way of flying and predating movements of birds, so visitors could easily detect and determine bird species

E.5: Educational program for schools and living-insect hotels (SAŽP)

– the program is based on a creation of microhabitats in practice and using them for an education about natural science and conservation issues; such microhabitats will consist of herbal and „butterfly“ gardens, strips of flower and herbaceous vegetation, „insect hotels“ – shelter for various insect, stony habitats for lizards, places for snake hibernation, there will be native trees planted, small wetland created for breeding of insect, the bird boxes and perches will be installed

E.6: Experience sharing, educating and workshops for project personnel, key stakeholders and decision makers (SAŽP)

– education and training will be organized in a form of three two-day study visits providing first-hand experience in the areas where the similar management practices are used for nature conservation; five workshops will be organized for target groups

E.7: Promotion documentary film (BROZ)

– this film will be an attractive way to present the project area, its habitats and target species and it will document the progress of project activities

E.8: Presentations and field excursions for students and public (SAŽP)

– presentations and field excursions for students and public with an expert guide will provide the best experience for the participants

E.9: Promotion of the project on conferences and through media (BROZ)

– promotion of the target species, the project, its objectives, methods and conservation achievements is beneficial both for support of the project implementation and public awareness raising

F.1: Project management (BROZ)

F.2: Networking with other projects (BROZ)

– contacts with similar ongoing and completed projects will be established throught which the project personnel will consider and learn different approaches with possible implications for project restoration actions

F.3: Audit (BROZ)

F.4: After-LIFE conservation plan (BROZ)

– the after – LIFE plan will propose how to continue the project activities started during the project period after its completion and how it will ensure the long term management of the project area and target species and their habitats

Brief summary of results achieved


Current cadastral and parcels land registry data of project area were purchased. (A.1)

6 metres wide stripes along the windbreaks of total area of 4 hectares in cadastral area Lipové (district Komárno) have been sowed with native seeds mixture in April 2014 and properly managed by mowing during the vegetation period (C.1)

12 pollard willows were managed. (C.4)

Status of all target species during the breeding season was monitored. (D.1)

Project website https://www.broz.sk/ostrovne-luky was launched during first quarter of 2014. (E.1)

Project and LIFE programme was presented for students (1 event) and public (1 event) via presentations and guided excursions. (E.8)

Meeting with another LIFE+ project focused on Red-footed Falcon (LIFE11/NAT/HU/000926) was realised. (F.2)



Extensive databases of land owners in the SPA Ostrovné lúky were finalised. Databases consists of different sets of information – from graphical data to charts with information about land parcels, ownership certificates, cadastral district data, owners/co-owners, property shares, and other data. (A.1)

25,63 hectares of land in cadastral area of Čalovec, Bodzianske lúky, Lipové, Okoličná na Ostrove and Zemianska Olča were purchased (B.1)

Pilot grazing on 0,5 hectares started in the autumn 2015 Flock of 18 sheeps and 11 goats was established and later on extended with another 27 sheeps and 11 goats. (C.2)

2,2 km of biocorridors planted in SPA Ostrovné lúky, as well as other biocorridors planted outside the borders of protected area. (C.3)

8 pollard willows were managed (C.4)

Georeferencing of historical maps from 1st, 2nd and 3rd military mapping was done, as well as vector digitalisation. The analysis of historical development of the water bodies and wetlands (from 18th century till present) was done.  Analysis of the digital terrain model, identification of terrain depressions, meander relicts and morphological development of the Čalovský Dudváh was done. (C.5)

Status of all target species during the breeding season was monitored. Monitoring report for 2014 (D.1) and Preliminary socio-economic monitoring report (D.2) were elaborated.

Project and LIFE programme was presented for students (5 events) and public (22 events) via presentations and guided excursions. (E.8)



New agrarian geographic information system software (SKEAGIS) was bought. This software allows more flexible work with land databases (including the export of GIS layers) and pre-paid regular updating of the graphical and information data. (A.1)

Expert study on restoration of feeding and nesting habitats of lowland meadows and pastures (A.2) and Expert study on restoration of biocorridors network (A.3) were finally finished and delivered.

9,86 hectares of land in cadastral area of Čalovec and Sokolce-Turi were purchased. (B.1)

New pasture was established in partnership with local farmer. This pasture is located near SEV SAŽP Dropie on 0,4 hectares. (C.2)

0,75 km biocorridors of mainly fruit trees and shrubs was planted. (C.3)

91 pollard willows were managed. (C.4)

Groundwater level beneath the surface and its interaction with surface waters was analysed. Localities suitable for wetland restoration where wetlands occurred in the past were identified. Areas where surface water (from rainfall) occurs during wet periods were also identified. (C.5)

150 bird boxes were constructed according to technical specifications of bird boxes for Red-footed Falcon. 62 of them were installed on suitable trees. 35 nesting perches were constructed and installed on suitable trees within the project site. (C.6)

Status of all target species during the breeding season was monitored. Monitoring report for 2015 (D.1) and 2nd socio-economic monitoring report (D.2) were elaborated.

First set of promo materials was produced as planned. This set includes stickers (2 500 pieces), magnetic badges (500 pieces) and information leaflets (6 000 pieces). (E.2)

The environmental educational program The Secret Life of Pests based on the handbook The Secret Life of Pests was prepared for teachers, museum workers, leisure centers, foster homes and various community centers. 4 realisations of microhabitats at pilot schools were realised. (E.5)

Two-day study visit (Hungary) and 2 one-day + 1 two-day workshops were carried out. (E.6)

Project and LIFE programme was presented for students (6 events) and public (3 events) via presentations and guided excursions. (E.8)

Project was presented on 3 conferences (2x Czech Republic, Austria). (E.9)

Discussion and sharing of knowledge with colleagues from Hungary who are realising project LIFE11 NAT/HU/000924 took place at Hortobágy. (F.2)



7,19 hectares of land in cadastral area of Čalovec were purchased (B.1)

10,74 hectares of arable land was turn into the lowland meadow by sowing the native seeds mixture. Restored meadow is situated in cadastral area of Čalovec municipality near Částa brook. (C.1)

– another 17,67 hectares of crop field was turn into the lowland meadow by sowing the native seeds mixture in the cadastral area of Čalovec and Zemianska Olča (C.1)

– newly founded graying pasture on the area of 10,74 hectares in cadastral area of Čalovec (C.2)

– 6,67 km of biocorridors were planted consisting of fruit trees, limetrees, maple trees, oaks and poplars (C.3)

– 192 pollard willows were managed. (C.4)

– 88 of bird boxes for Red-footed Falcon were installed on suitable trees. 65 nesting perches were constructed and installed on suitable trees within the project site. (C.6)

– status of all target species during the breeding season was monitored. Monitoring report for 2016 was elaborated. (D.1)

– second set of promotional materials was created: T-shirts (500 pcs), bags (500 pcs) and mugs (500 pcs) (E.2)

Content of 10 information panels of the educational walking path The Landscape Story has been prepared. (E.3)

2 two-day study visits (Czech Republic, Hungary/Austria) for stakeholders were carried out. (E.6)

Project and LIFE programme was presented for students (2 events) and public (3 events) via presentations and guided excursions. (E.8)

Project activities were presented on 1 conference in Czech Republic. (E.9)

Envirorecord: International day of trees

Vďaka 542-om dobrovoľníkom z celého Slovenska včera pribudli v okrese Komárno na poľné cesty aleje líp, dubov, javorov a ovocných stromov.

Posted by Drahu Dobrovicsová TV JOJ on 21. október 2017

Háveď na nás pôsobí zvyčajne nepríjemne, obťažujú- co, zbytočne a odporne. Ale nemôže byť taká háveď predsa aj niečím zaujímavá? Aké má tajomstvá? Má veľa nôh, očí, je chlpatá, slizká, alebo úplne lysá? Kde taká háveď žije? Čím sa živí? Môže byť vôbec taká háveď na niečo dobrá?

Príručka pre odvážnych, ktorí chcú porozumieť tomu, prečo je háveď dôležitá

Tajomstvá hávede (slovensky)

Az undorito elolenyek titkai (magyar)


RNDr. Pavol Surovec – project manager
surovec (at) broz.sk