A very interesting observation arrived today from Germany. Edith Höhner could observe this young bearded vulture just some kilometers west of Bonn. She was on walking with her dog when she saw this huge bird harassed by the local buzzards. Luckily she was carrying a camera with her and she could take some great pictures.
One month ago, on the 18th January, a bearded vulture was observed not so far from this observation. The chances are very high that they relate to the same bird.
The observation of bearded vultures in the flat areas of Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands is now relatively regular, but usually in Spring or Summer when young birds explore new areas. It is very unusual to see these birds so early in the year.
We previously reported from similar cases, see e.g:
The bird seen in Germany now is a young bearded vulture hatched in 2016. There are no markings visible on any of the pictures and therefore it is most probably a bird hatched in the wild. It is impossible to say if the bird originates from the Alpine or the Pyrenean populations - only genetic analysis would determine that. For these only a small feather is necessary.
Bearded vultures live in mountain regions, where they have good thermal conditions for flying and where they find carcasses of wild ungulates as their food source. In the flat areas flying is more difficult, and finding food a big challenge.
The bird near Bonn looks healthy, but it may run into problems. We are therefore very interested to receive more information about any sightings of bearded vultures. Please let us know if you observe the bird, but do not approach it as this might lead to panic flights and cause injuries.
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