Since the beginning of 2021, the Public Institution for Management of Protected Parts of Nature and Ecological Network of Virovitica Podravina County and AWAP - Association for Wild Animals Protection from Kraj Gornji, Zaprešić, have jointly successfully rescued, cared for and returned to nature seven rehabilitated birds.
It is important to note that of seven individuals returned to the wild, six of them belong to strictly protected species proclaimed by the Ordinance on Strictly Protected Species (OG 144/2013), from the group of prey.
Following a report of unnatural behaviour and loss of wild instincts of the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) in the Noskovci area in June 2020, employees of the Public Institution went to the field, caught the injured individual and after the examination it was decided to transfer the individual to the Zagreb Zoo where the bird was assisted.
After the condition improved, the white-tailed eagle was transported for the further rehabilitation to AWAP.
Ten months later, it was estimated that the white-tailed eagle was ready to return to nature. The embankment along the Drava River near Noskovci was chosen as the place of release, near which is also the headquarter of the Public Institution, and on March 31st 2021, the individual was returned to its natural habitat.
According to the Croatian Red List, the White-tailed eagle is a sensitive (VU) species (Tutiš et al., 2013), and the population in Croatia is estimated at 150 pairs, so this return to nature is of great importance for maintaining a stable population of the largest European eagle. In addition to the mentioned the white-tailed eagle, three specimens of the buzzards (Buteo buteo) were returned to nature in the same area.
Although this species is the most common preys of Croatia together with the kestrel (Falco tinnuculus), it is very important to keep the population stable since its favourite food are the small mammals such as mices and voles.
On the same day, in the park of the Visitor Center The Drava Story , the barn owl (Tyto alba) was returned to nature after it was taken care of by the employees of the Public Institution.
The barn owl was found in a transport container, and after a report and collection, it was taken for a veterinary examination and repair of injuries, which fortunately were only superficial.
Because she was exhausted and disturbed, she was kept in further rehabilitation and returned to nature after two weeks. In addition to the barn owl, another species from the owl family (Strigidae) was successfully rehabilitated. The forest owl (Strix aluco) was found injured on the Virovitica highway at the end of 2020, a veterinary examination determined that it had a broken wing and was left for rehabilitation at the Public Institution. After a two-month recovery, on February 25, 2021, to be exact, the forest owl was returned to its natural habitat. In addition to the above, the repatriation of one red-billed swan (Cygnus olor) was successfully carried out, which was, after rehabilitation at the Zagreb Zoo, successfully returned to nature in the area of the County Channel near Kapinci. The birds that are released into the wild after recovery are a confirmation of the concern work of the Public Institution for Management of Protected Parts of Nature and Ecological Network of Virovitica Podravina County for the richness of its flora and fauna. For many years, the Public institution has been successfully carrying out actions of rescuing, caring for and returning to nature endangered and strictly protected species.