As many of you know, our friends at Burning Hawk Wines are on a mission to pair the enjoyment of fine wine with the protection of birds. This ties tightly with our mission at Birdfreak to promote the efforts of bird conservation from all levels. So, for the month of October, Birdfreak.com has teamed up with Burning Hawk Philanthropic Wines to raise money and awareness to protect the enchanting Saker Falcon from electrocutions in Mongolia.
The Problem: Faulty Power Line Construction
The Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) is a beautiful hunter of the open lands of eastern Europe and Asia. Sadly, this raptor has had a rapid decline in population which has earned it the unfortunate place on the IUCN Red List as Endangered. With an estimated world population of 7,200 to 8,800 this is a bird in major need of conservation attention.
One of the several problems Saker Falcons face are electrocutions on power lines. In a study in central Mongolia from 1998 to 2004 done by Dr. Gombobaatar of the Ornithological Society of Mongolia recorded electrocutions as the highest adult mortality rate. 54% of discovered carcasses were determined to have died from electrocution.
In a study conducted in September 2007 by Richard Harness, Dr. Gombobaatar, and Dr. Reuven Yosef (International Birding & Research Centre) raptor electrocutions were recorded under wood pole lines and under concrete/steel pole lines.
- wood pole lines had 13 total raptor electrocutions of four species including 3 individual Saker Falcons
- concrete/steel pole lines had 42 total raptor electrocutions of nine species including 13 Saker Falcons
The Solution: Power Pole Retrofitting
The single best way to deter these raptor deaths is to retrofit the poles with mitigation methods which cost between $700-$1,000 to install depending on the pole. Your purchase of Burning Hawk Wines will help fund the acquisition and installation of these retrofits.
The Funding: Sipping for Sakers
For the month of October, 10% of every sale of Burning Hawk Wines will go to support this project to reduce Saker Falcon deaths. These wines, ranging from $12.00 to $30.00 a bottle, make excellent holiday gifts and a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving menu. [We reviewed two Burning Hawk Wines early this year and although we are not wine connoisseurs by any means, we loved them!]
Please help spread the word, purchase excellent wine, and help be part of a project that is working directly to conserve birds. Look for continued coverage on this project throughout October and if you have any questions or comments please leave them below.
Interested in Making a Direct Donation?
If you would like to make a tax-deductible direct donation please make the check out to “Rocky Mountain Raptor Program – Saker Falcon Project” and mail it to:
Rocky Mountain Raptor Program
2519 S. Shields St. #115
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Information from the IEEE 2008 Rural Electric Power Conference paper: “Mongolian Distribution Power Lines and Raptor Electrocutions” by Richard Harness, Dr. Sundev Gombobaatar, and Dr. Reuven Yosef
Saker Falcon image from: Mountain View Conservation and Breeding Centre