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With a visit to Betonowski and Marglowski. What's up with the kestrels at CEMEX Poland's cement plants?

10 of January '23

CEMEX Poland is constantly working to increase its commitment to nature conservation. The company pays special attention to initiatives implemented in the immediate vicinity of its plants. One of CEMEX's main projects on biodiversity protection is the "CEMEX Kestrels - Falcons" program implemented at the cement plants in Chelm and Rudniki near Czestochowa.

In 2011, the first nesting boxes for kestrels, a strictly protected species of falcon, were hung at the CEMEX Cement Plant in Chelm. Since then, the project has been expanded to include the Rudniki Cement Plant. Since kestrels do not build their nests, the way to ensure their active protection is to install nesting boxes. CEMEX has already installed a total of eight nesting boxes at its plants, and has additionally equipped some of them with live-view cameras, allowing internet users to observe the birds in their first weeks of life. In addition, CEMEX's Environmental Team maintains a calendar during the nesting season describing important events in the lives of the birds, and ornithologists working with the company assist the company with bird surveys and ringing.

With the 2022 season over, CEMEX is pleased to share the results of the work carried out. The past season began at the cement plants quite unusually, as one of the nesting boxes prepared for the kestrels was inhabited by a family of jackdaws. This event is interesting in that it is usually kestrels that occupy unused nests of corvid birds. In addition to the successful breeding of jackdaws, CEMEX also recorded 8 families of kestrels on its sites, which lived to see their offspring in 2022.

We are pleased that our activities are yielding the expected results, and every year a new generation of kestrels leaves the nests at our plants. According to the expertise of an ornithologist cooperating with us, in 2022 an estimated 34 young individuals were reared in our cement plants," says Monika Wosik, Director of Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development at CEMEX Poland.

This year's research work focused on the Betonowski families from Chelm and the Marglowski families from Rudnik. The chicks were examined and ringed. Thanks to genetic analysis, their sex was also determined - four females and four males were recorded. As a curiosity, it was observed that, although it is usually mainly the female kestrels that take care of egg incubation - Mr. Betonowski devoted a relatively large amount of time to this task. The camera installed in the Betonowski family's nesting box also recorded visits by older fledglings from a neighboring box, who flew in to feed, a rather unusual observation.

The 2022 breeding season was really successful and rich in terms of the observations made, which allow us to learn more and more about this endangered species. Further information and photos of the nesting boxes can be found on the project website. In the meantime, the next nesting season at the cement plants will start as early as March, at which time CEMEX will launch a transmission from the nesting boxes and inform about further plans for the project.

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