Bearded Vultures in Andalusia, Spain, have already started exhibiting breeding behaviour, and we have some optimistic news! There are at least three new nests built, one of which is in an area where the species has not been present for half a century.
First Bearded Vulture nest built in Granada Province since species' extinction
A Bearded Vulture pair constructed a nest in Granada Province for the first time since the species became extinct decades ago! The birds responsible for this brilliant outcome are Vera and Guadalquivir. Both hatched in captivity in 2013 and were released the same year as part of the Bearded Vulture Reintroduction Project led by Junta de Andalucía in collaboration with us here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF).
The project team observed this pair last year transferring some branches to the territory and performed a few copulations, but there was no proper breeding attempt. This time, they already build the nest, and their behaviour seems promising. Even if they don't manage to rear a chick this year, this finding poses a significant step forward for the ongoing reintroduction project!
More new Bearded Vulture nests built in Andalusia
More exciting news for the Bearded Vulture reintroduction in Andalusia as Bearded Vulture pairs constructed two new nests in the N.P. Of Sierras De Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas.
Estela (female) and Rayo (male) build their first-ever nest! The project team observed Estela bringing a large pine-tree branch into the territory, with Rayo escorting her in what seemed to be the first step to nest-building behaviour. Estela was even testing if the place can be to home to a future offspring by adopting an incubating posture while Rayo was watching closely. It is still early to tell whether their breeding attempts would be successful as the laying period is due January or February. However, nevertheless, the prospect of a breeding attempt by this new pair this year is still exciting.
The other new nest in the region is by Viola (female) and Sansón (male), who built their second nest. Last year, this pair built up their first nest site in the Park, and once they completed it, a Griffon VultureVulture pair stole it away to use for their breeding attempt. This year, Viola and Sansón are building a new platform far from the other, perhaps to prevent this from happening again.
Let's hope these pairs successfully breed!
Bearded Vulture Reintroduction in Andalusia
Bearded Vultures went extinct in Andalusia in 1986 mainly due to direct persecution, wildlife poisoning and human disturbance at the nesting sites. To bring them back, Junta de Andalucía, and us here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) started a reintroduction project in 1996, and the former Fundación Gypaetus was also created to manage the project. Since the first releases in 2006 and with the release of eight individuals this year, 71 Bearded Vultures have been released in Andalusia this year in the provinces of Jaén and Granada. Thanks to tackling threats and releasing birds, the population of the species is gradually increasing. There are currently three Bearded Vulture pairs and 43 confirmed individuals in Andalusia.
The Bearded Vulture Reintroduction Project is also possible thanks to the support of Agentes de Medio Ambiente, SEPRONA de la Guardia Civil, the Antipoison Programme, the Park and Consejería staff and last but not least, the general public!
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