Following close on the steps of their cousins in the VCF-managed bearded vulture captive breeding network - where the first eggs were laid on the 5th December, bearded vulture in the Alps have also started to lay their eggs.
The bearded vulture pair called Bormio, whose nest is located in the Stelvio National Park, laid their first egg on the 7th December. Last year this pair, the first ever breeding pair that settled in the Italian Alps, in 1998, had laid on the 13th December. On the photo – taken from more than 2 km away, you can see the female, named “Stift”, incubating.
Bearded vultures are one of the earliest breeders in Europe – their timing perfectly adapted to have chicks in early spring, when many of the mountain herbivores on which they feed (when they die) have their first births – and birth complications!
Bearded vultures repair or build their nests in November-December, and lay their eggs in December-January, incubating them through the coldest winter months. This happens both in captivity and in the wild.
At least 5 eggs have already been laid in the captive breeding network.