The International Observation Days (IOD) for bearded vultures have started in 2006, and consist in a one day simultaneous count of bearded vultures across the whole Alpine arc, organised by the International Bearded Vulture Monitoring network (IBM).
This count allows for a thorough monitoring of the bearded vulture population status and the distribution in the Alps. Furthermore, the count produces many sightings of identifiable birds, thus generating baseline data for survival analyses and demographic modelling. Besides the valuable information about the dynamics of the reintroduced population, the IODs also play an important role in creating public awareness for the project.
Over the years this event, which takes place during the first fortnight of October, has become an important date for ornithologist and bird-watchers, who are fascinated by this large bird species. The number of volunteer observers has been growing every year - last year we had over 700 participants
The 2015 event – you can download the report below – logged in 450 bearded vulture observations, even if only half of all GPS-tagged animals could be observed.
Crossing the observation data with expert knowledge about the presence of territorial and tagged birds, we estimate that we have seen last year between 166 and 199 different bearded vultures. These estimates are higher than in the last two years (2013: 117-128, 2014: 112-130). The current estimate for the total population size for the Alps – obtained by updating the demographic model developed in 2009 – predicts a population size of 227 individuals. This means that more than 70% of the birds in the Alps were seen last year during the 2015 IOD!
Among the observed birds last year 10% of were identified as juveniles, 14% as immature, 10% as subadult and 54% as adult birds. Furthermore, it was possible to identify individually 66 bearded vultures, thus providing us valuable information on their life history.
This year´s count is this Saturday – 8th October. All over the Alps, people will spend the day in the mountain and keep an eye on the bearded vultures and count them! Please contact the regional coordinators below if you are interested in participating or contact us for any other question:
Italy - Stelvio: firstname.lastname@example.org
Italy - Aosta: email@example.com
Italy - Alpi Marittime: firstname.lastname@example.org
France - Haute Savoie:email@example.com
France - Mercantour: firstname.lastname@example.org
France - Ecrins: email@example.com
France - Grands Causses: firstname.lastname@example.org
France - Vercors: email@example.com
France - Les Baronnies: firstname.lastname@example.org