LIFE LANNER 2022: taking stock of the year

An overview of the past year’s progress 

This year, the Lago di Vico Nature Reserve attempted a different approach for the release of lanner specimens destined for reintroduction, going beyond the classic hacking method.

Compared to previous years, the improvements were due to keeping the falcons close to the hacking boxes for about 40 days before letting them fly away permanently. This differs from previous releases in which the animals immediately went away, without ever going back to their artificial nest.

However, the specimens were not able to become autonomous and live a long life in the wild. Of the four specimens this year, two were not deemed fit to be released using the hacking method adopted, despite being raised and introduced in the hacking box at the same time.

An alternative technique: progressive release after training

The lanners which were not released underwent training to improve both their flying and their hunting, towards a progressive release into the wild. The two young falcons have been following this program for about 2 months with expert collaborators who have been supporting Vico for the last 2 years of the LIFE LANNER project.

When it will become clear that the birds are able to hunt and eat on their own, and only then, they will be released. The specific habitat and trophic needs of these animals are not at all easy to replicate and reproduce with the traditional methods used in falconry. In fact, according to our research, the lanner isnt, and has never been, a species sought in falconry.

However, after discussing it with the Scientific Committee, an agreement was reached to make an attempt in this direction. The lanners were thus equipped with a GPS device, just like in all other releases. For each flight, they were also set up with a VHF transmitter which allows them to be found and promptly recovered , should they be in any danger.

Part of the work carried out to improve flight performance and increase muscle mass. These are the primary activities necessary for the animal to be able to become a successful hunter.