Turkey has significant vulture populations, but also many threats. Electrocution and poison seem to be significant mortality factors limiting some of the vulture populations there.
In June 2012 Ornitofoto, a small Turkish NGO focussed on documenting Turkey´s beautiful bird life, opened a small feeding station at a priority site for vultures and eagles – the mountain plateau near Dortdivan, Bolu, about 100km northwest from the capital Ankara. The initial project, funded by the United Nations Development Programme, had conservation and eco-tourism/sustainable development objectives – as a result a small hide (mostly used for nature photography) has been erected and a feeding point established. In 2013 more than 130 photographers used the hide to take pictures of vultures and other wildlife.
For the vultures in the area – including a healthy population of black vultures, some bearded vultures, griffon vultures on migration and the odd Egyptian vulture pair – a safe feeding area is very important, keeping them away from potential poison. The station usually receives the visit of 9-10 black vultures, but in July 2013 a maximum of 160 individuals were seen feeding together there. Griffons occur mostly after the breeding season (from May onwards), in small numbers (maximum 7 together), while bearded vultures usually appear between June and October (up to 3 individuals per day). Imperial eagles (maximum count 7), white-tailed sea eagles, buzzards, long-legged buzzards and ravens (more than 100 at occasions) also use the food put at the station.
This year, and with the help of a generous Norwegian donor, the VCF is providing financial (and also technical) support to this project, securing some essential maintenance costs. A local employee collects carrion (mostly dead poultry from the many local chicken farms) on a regular basis and delivers it to the station. The hide has turned out to be very popular with nature photographers, who can book it for a small fee and thus take pictures of vultures, the many imperial eagles nesting in the area, as well as other rare wildlife – including wolves! If you want to visit please contact Burak Dogansoysal (firstname.lastname@example.org)