The results of the bearded vulture monitoring and research done by the network Casseur d´Os in the French Pyrenees have recently been published by the LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux).
Last year there were 43 pairs of bearded vultures in the French side of the Pyrenees (including four new pairs), of which 32 laid eggs. 23 young hatched, but only 11 young fledged. This results in a productivity of 0,26 (only one in every 4 pairs have bred successfully), and a breeding success of 0,34 (one successful fledgling for every three egg-laying), both rather low. 9% of the pairs contained a third individual (trio).
In spite of the low productivity, the evolution of the population in the French Pyrenees is still positive, from 17 pairs in 1994 to 43 last year. On the Spanish side, there are 135+ pairs.
The density of breeding pairs is high around the National Park of Pyrenees (Béarn, Hautes- Pyrénées) all the way to the Haute-Garonne. It is lower in the Basque Country (where the species has receded), and in Ariège, Aude and Eastern Pyrenees, which are being newly colonized (see map).
The number of laying pairs has increased with the number of territorial pairs, but unfortunately the number of young fledged has stagnated since 2006. The exponential increase in helicopter overflights over the past 10 years, and partially the unfavorable weather conditions, and a local decrease of chamois, explains why many pairs do not breed successfully in the French Pyrenees.
Last year bearded vultures started incubation around the 30th November, while the last egg laying occurred in the end of February. The first young fledged the 20th May, while the last ones only on the 2nd August.
This year there are at least 44 breeding pairs (one more than last year), of which at least 34 laid eggs. A minimum of 19 young hatched, of which 17 still survived in the end of April. This suggests this year´s productivity will be higher than in the last few years – only 9 fledged young in 2015 and 11 in 2016.
You can download a report on the 2016 breeding season the French Pyrenees, and also the latest newsletter of the bearded vulture monitoring network below (in French).