IBM News June 2013

Voici la dernière lettre d'information du réseau Iternational Bearded Vulture Monitoring (IBM) :

 A year with challenging weather conditions is going on. First the winter doesn´t want to stop. Then suddenly African winds bring a heat wave to Europe. And then autumn temperatures refresh us again. Nevertheless the bearded vultures seem to be unimpressed and go on with the raising of their chicks as usual. Mid of June the first fledglings of this year have opened their wings for the first flight. Also the released birds of this year are again ready for their take-off. So more and more bearded vultures are flying in the Alps and observations are getting more likely to happen. So don´t miss this chance and keep the date of the next International Observation Day on the 12th of October, in mind! Last year, a total of 127 individuals have been counted all over the Alpine Arc!

Release 2013


On the 25th of May, snow was falling around the release place, when the 2 young bearded vultures were brought to their new "nest". Aschka, born in the Richard-Faust-Centre, Austria, and Kalandraka from the breeding centre in Guadalentìn, Spain, were not more surprised by the cold weather than by the many interested people who have come to see the 2 newcomers. Find more about the release event here . In the meanwhile both birds have performed their first flights. Find a lot of pictures and daily stories (in German) about the 2 youngsters on the Swiss blog.
©Ursula Zech


Another 2 birds have been released in the NP Mercantour in the Southern French Alps. Tenao (male, Richard-Faust-Centre, Austria) and Costa (female, Guadalentìn, Spain) got their names from the "Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco". With this royal support the two bearded vultures will have a good start for their lives in the Alps.

 Again in the community of Treschenu-Creyers two birds have been brought to their release cave. The female Gerlinde, named after the famous Austrian alpinist Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, was born in the Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria. The second bird received the name Kirsie. The bird´s sex has not been determined yet, but due to its small size it might be a male.
©Tiergarten Schönbrunn

Grands Causses

 In the corridor region of the Massif Centrale the second release has taken place on the 6th of June. Two young bearded vultures, both males, were born in the Breeding Centre of Guadalentìn at the beginning of March. Now Dourbie, named after a river in the region, and Layrou are waiting for their first flight.
A film on the first release of bearded vultures in the PNR Grands Causses is now available. Find the link for ordering the film here.
©Sebastien Pernet


According to the low breeding success in captivity, there is no release taking place in the Austrian National Park Hohe Tauern this year.


In Andalusia 3 young bearded vultures have been released in the Nature Park of Castril on the 20th of May, the birds got their names from local school children. The two females are Vera and Estela, the male is named Guadalquivir after the longest river in Andalusia. All of them have already fledged and roam around in the beautiful mountains of the Sierra de Castril.
Another 2 birds have been released in Centenares on the 24th of June. One is a male named Sansón, the sex of the second bird is still unknown and so it did not get a name yet.

Picture of Castril Mountains.
Source :

Marking Pattern 2013

Alps and Corridor region

The new marking patterns for the birds released in the Alps and the Grands Causses this year are available in the section of downloads of the IBM website, following the link Marking Pattern 2013 for the Alps and the Corridor region.

Alpine Monitoring

Preliminary results of the reproduction in the Alps 2013

Incubating Couples:
2 Austria
8 France
7 Italy
8 Switzerland
25 total

Hatched chicks:
0 Austria
8 France
5 Italy
6 Switzerland
19 total

Chicks fledged or still in the nest:
0 Austria
6 France
4 Italy
6 Switzerland
16 total

South-Western Region

Séolane, the chick of the pair in Haute Ubaye, named after a beautiful mountain in the area, took off for his first flight on the 25th of June. It is still in the care of its parents and receives food from them.
The new pair in Haute Tinée, composed by Rocca and Girasole, is a very young and un-experienced couple and therefore failed in its first breeding season. But the signs are good for the next year.
©Didier Freychet

North-Western Alps

The 3 pairs of the NP Vanoise are successful so far. The young of Termignon called Gygybarbe has already fledged. In Haute Savoie the 3 pairs were also breeding quite promising, but in Bargy the chick died for unknown reasons after a few weeks. The other 2 chicks are fine. On the 13th of June, it was the first time that a wild born bearded vulture was marked in the nest. A professional climber and collaborators of ASTERS got into the nest and ringed the young bird named Linky. Regular observations at the nest site show that the parents go on with the feeding of the chick as usual.
In the meantime a new pair was discovered in the lower Derborence valley this year. The results of the genetic analysis show that the parents of Denis, the young of last year, are Swaro (male, Haute Savoie 2005) and Gilbert (female, Haute Savoie 2004). The first observations this year are also concerning this pair. But it was mid of May, when the inner valley was accessible again and François Biollaz discovered the nest of the well-known trio of Derborence (Pablo, Gildo, Guillaumes) on less than 2 km distance from the other nest. The young called Marlon already fledged on the 14th of June.
In the Italian region Valle d´Aosta the chicks in Val di Rhêmes and Valsavarenche are fine and should fledge at the end of July.
©Rémi Fabre

Central Alps

In eastern Switzerland beside the well-known pairs of Albula and Tantermozza a new pair has formed in the Poschiavo area last year and started with incubation late in February. A chick has hatched and is now raised by its quite young parents. For fledging the young bearded vulture will need some more weeks until mid of August. The pair Ofenpass is not breeding this year. In Val Foraz the breeding failed before hatching. In Val Sinestra the usual nest has not been used this year, and the pair was supposed not to breed. But mid of May David Jenny found hints for an active nest in the vicinity. Only in June after snow-melting he discovered the nest with an already grown up chick.
On the Italian side only the chicks of Livigno and Zebru have survived the first months. In Braulio the chick died. The 2 young pairs in the Vinschgau/Val Venosta failed without hatching. A new pair formation is taking place in Trento. In Foscagno a pair is still present, but the partners have obviously changed.

Eastern Alps

Unfortunately there is no breeding success in Austria this year. The pair Rauris failed without hatching in mid April, but is still around in the area. The pair Katschberg is now consisting of Hubertus 2 and a new, subadult female (possibly Romaris, Kals 2007) and is harmoniously flying together in its territory.
In the meantime in Osttirol an unknown adult and a subadult bird (probably Pinzgarus, Rauris 2008) are flying together in the Valley of Gschlöß. They are often seen together, roosting in the same cliff. Another young bearded vulture Tschadin (Kals 2010) was also flying together with the new pair in June. Find more information on the Austrian birds on the homepage of the NP Hohe Tauern.
©Gebhard Brenner

Bearded vultures travelling around Europe

The Story of Bernd
The young female Bernd (Calfeisen 2012) decided to go on a trip through Middle Europe. She started in Switzerland mid of May, went to the North-East, crossing Bavaria and Czech Republic. Then she took a route into Poland up to the Baltic Sea. Then she decided to go West. Cold and rainy weather conditions forced her to stay for some days near Lübeck in the North of Germany, before she turned to the South heading already for the Alps in the first days of June. But then she changed the direction and went to the North-East again. Around the 8th of June the telemetry team received a signal suspecting the death of the bird. But fortunately local ornithologists found only the satellite tag in the area of Kulmbach (Germany) and Bernd was already gone to continue her journey. Following the telemetry tracks Bernd had already done a journey of more than 3000 km in 3 weeks! After losing the satellite tag we received only a few observations of Bernd in Germany, hoping that she would find her way back into the Alps herself. But on the 2nd of July we got the news that the bird was sitting in a stone quarry in Saxony (Germany) close to the Polish border.
The bird seemed to be very weak and exhausted. Finally the team of the Zoo Liberec caught the bird and brought it to the Zoo. Hopefully Bernd will recover quickly, so that she can soon be re-released in the Swiss Alps. Read more on the journey of Bernd on the Swiss homepage (only in German).

In the meantime Basalte (Grands Causses 2012) is visiting the Alps. He left the Massif Centrale mid of May and went straight to the department Haute Savoie. Now he is roaming around the Mont Blanc. The latest picture of Basalte was taken in the Valais/Wallis, Switzerland (see picture). His nest sibling Cardabelle took another direction and is exploring the Pyrenees since May. Follow the tracks of the two bridge builders on the LPO Website.
In return Angélo (Vercors 2012) was visiting the Grands Causses in April when he made a trip through France. You can find his map here.


Bearded Vulture on the Balkans

ust a few days ago the IBM team received a hint for the observation of a bearded vulture in Bosnia-Herzegovina. A picture has been taken on Vlasic Mountain on the 16th of June. It shows a subadult or adult bird in flight. The last bearded vulture has disappeared on the Balkan Peninsula around 2005/2006. The closest population is situated in the Alps. This is the first confirmation for a bearded vulture moving towards the South-East.

 © Sumeja & Narcis Drocić

First results on telemetry data

Between 2006 and 2012 non-mature bearded vultures have been radio tagged in the Pyrenees, Andalusia and the Alps. The study shows significant differences between the autochthonous population in the Pyrenees and the two reintroduction projects. Read more about this interesting topic here.

Survey on lead ammunition

A technical report on the problems related to the use of lead ammunition in Italy is now available. Read more here.
This report has been published in October 2012 by the Institute for Nature Protection and Research (ISPRA), on behalf of the Italian Ministry for the Environment, with the aim to spread information and raise awareness on this topic. Considering the target of this document, it has been entirely written in Italian, and it includes some case studies referring to Italy. As far as we know, it is the first case of a technical document on lead ammunition adressed to a non-specialist public, illustrating in detail all the relevant aspects involved (wildlife poisoning, human health concerns, soil pollution).
Furthermore there is an interesting website regarding lead ammunition. Find the link here.

Results on Reproduction in the Pyrenees

For the recent situation of the Bearded Vulture in the French Pyrenees please read more in the Circulaire n°63 (French) by Martine Razin.
A synthesis on the results of the monitoring in the Pyrenees in 2012 (in French) you can find here, composed by the Réseau "Casseur d´os", Martine Razin.

©Reseau "Casseur d´os"

Literature on hunting and vulture conservation

Hunt, W.G. et al. 2009 : Lead Bullet Fragments in Venison from Rifle-Killed Deer:
Potential for Human Dietary Exposure. PLoS ONE 4(4): e5330. doi: 10.1371/ journal. pone. 0005330

Hunt, W.G. et al. 2006 : Bullet fragments in deer remains: Implications for lead
exposure in Avian scavengers. Wildl. Soc. Bull. 34(1): 167-170.

Mateao-Tomas, P. & Olea, P.P. 2010 : When hunting benefits raptors: a case study of game species and vultures. Eur. J. Wildl. Res. 56: 519-528.


International Observation Days 2013

The next International Bearded Vulture Observation Day is fixed on Saturday the 12th of October 2013 with a buffer period from the 11th to the 20th of October. PLEASE keep this date highlighted in your calendar!
Only in case of extreme weather conditions throughout the Alpine Arc on the focal date, the IBM team will decide to switch the date to one week later. We will keep you informed!

Annual Bearded Vulture Information Meeting 2013

The upcoming Annual Meeting of the European Bearded Vulture Conservation Associations is fixed for the weekend 9th - 10th of November 2013. It is going to take place in Rhêmes-Saint-Georges, Regione Valle d´Aosta, Italy. On Monday the 11th of November the IBM Steering Committee will meet in a working group to discuss important topics concerning questions of conservation and the future of the reintroduction project. The registration for the Annual Meeting is going to be prepared in the next weeks. Please have a look at the VCF homepage for your registration!

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