The Lesser Kestrel – protection of a species

The Lesser Kestrel (Kirkinezi in Greek) is one of the most characteristic examples of birds have adapted their lifestyle in order to coexist with humans, feeding mostly on larger insects and small rodents.

It is a small bodied falcon with no particular requirements for nesting – which is why it has managed to create its home in man-made buildings – under rooftop tiles, inside warehouses or even churches. The traditional style of buildings with tile roofs in the villages of Thessaly was an ideal abode for this species. But as architectural styles and construction methods changed over time, it became increasingly difficult for the kestrel to find suitable nesting spots in the region’s villages and towns. This is one of the reasons why its population declined significantly over recent decades.

As a result, the Greek Ornithological Society, in cooperation with the nearby municipalities Riga Fereiou and Kileler, created more than 150 artificial nests for kestrels in 11 villages across the plain of Thessaly, under the EU-funded LIFE program. Thanks to these efforts, in 2015 the Society recorded more than 600 lesser kestrels in four villages neighbouring the lake.


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