Following the releases of bearded vultures in Cazorla (see here), the Grands Causses (see here), and the Austrian Alps (see here) within our project to restore the species to its former European distribution, tomorrow three young birds will be released near Melchsee-Frutt in Central Switzerland.
The three young are female – one hatched in Tierpark Goldau (Switzerland), one from the specialized breeding center in Vallcalent (Spain) co-managed by the Generalitat de Catalonia & the VCF, and the third from the Richard Faust specialized captive breeding center in Austria. Both the chicks from Vallcalent and from Austria were adopted by foster parents – in the case of the chick from Vallcalent, the egg was incubated already by the imprinted male Gualay, because the natural mother has a history of burying the 1st egg under the wool before laying the second – so the 1stegg always has to be removed and given to Gualay.
The main goal of the releases in Switzerland is to increment the genetic variability of the alpine population. Switzerland was chosen for this because of the low mortality of released birds and the high reproduction success of the reintroduced population.
This year a new release site will be used. The VCF always recommends that when a new site is used one should use always more than 2 birds, so that if one of the birds fells from the next, at least two birds will fly and secure the necessary social contact post-fledgling. This helps them adapt to their new territories.
The birds will be presented to the public in a ceremony at in Tanalp (see detailed programme below), and will then be taken to the platform high up in the mountains, where they will stay until they fledge naturally.
The public is encouraged to visit the release site from a distance over the next few weeks – for more information go to www.bartgeier.ch/auswilderung