He was released in the Baronnies in southern France back in 2015 and since then Cinereous Vulture Abricot earned a reputation for being a great wanderer. It’s been over two years and as his GPS transmitter was lost, we had no way of knowing where was, but we were excited recently when colleagues reported a sighting of him, so where is the great wanderer?
One of the 45 birds released as part of a reintroduction project in the Baronnies in southern France running since 2004, Abricot is a wild Spanish Cinereous Vulture who was transported to France after being found exhausted and taken into care at a wildlife recovery centre in Andalusia in 2013. The reintroduction project in France involves releasing birds from captivity as well as wild birds from recovery centres in Spain where the population numbers around 3,000 pairs. After a year in an aviary to adapt to his new home Abricot, along with three other birds was released into the wild at Baronnies Provençales Natural Regional Park in January 2015.
Wandering around Europe
Abricot quickly explore his new home and beyond taking a 2,600 round trip around the Italian Peninsula reaching the island of Capri. After returning to the Baronnies he then departed for the Alps, heading over Switzerland, southern Germany, and Liechtenstein, towards Austria, all the way to the Hungarian-Slovak border. He returned to the Baronnies only briefly before departing west and heading to the Iberian Peninsula. Over the rest of 2015 he crossed the whole of Spain from Barcelona to Madrid all the way to western Spain and flying up and down the Spanish-Portuguese border. In 2016 it appeared he settled down in Andalucía, spotted regularly at the Sierra de San Pedro Cinereous Vulture colony. But he lost his GPS transmitter and since then we’ve not had any reports of him. That was until the beginning of December 2018.
Caught on camera
A Cinereous Vulture with a leg ring similar to those used in France was spotted at a feeding station amongst a throng of Griffon Vultures at the Contenda Estate, Moura in southern Portugal, managed by wildlife organisation Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN). After consultation with colleagues in France it was confirmed that the bird was indeed Abricot.
It’s fantastic to hear that Abricot is alive and doing well after settling back on the Iberian Peninsula.