Changes in the nest sites of White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) in Hungary

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Abstract

The breeding strategies of the White Stork changed drastically during the past decades: a decreasing number of individuals nest on traditional nest sites – trees, roofs, chimneys, whereas electricity poles are increasingly selected. Here we analysed long-term breeding data of White Storks breeding in six Hungarian counties to detect patterns in nest site preferences in Hungary. According to our results, the shift to preference for electricity poles was shown at the same rate in every county, independently from the proportion of original nest sites. After 2000, although electricity poles dominated everywhere, the proportion of nest on poles without platform increased, despite the abundance of available empty platforms. To explain this pattern, we propose that White Storks show a preference for viewpoints, thus choosing to breed as near as possible to optimal habitats, regardless of nest site types. Therefore, conservation measures concerning the nest sites of this species should include preliminary habitat analysis.

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