Following on from updates from the migration of Egyptian vultures from the western and eastern flyways of the Eurasian-African Flyway, we’re sharing a report from the field counting migrating vultures at Sarimazi in Turkey from the Egyptian Vulture New LIFE conservation team.
Counting Egyptian vultures
The small Balkan population, around 60 breeding pairs, of Egyptian vultures is rapid declining, however, no trend information exists for the larger adjacent population in western Turkey.
To estimate the size of a population scientists can monitor breeding territories and feeding stations where many young and adult birds land for food, or calculate the number of birds flying through migratory bottlenecks. One of those areas is the village of Sarimazi in Turkey where in September hundreds of Egyptian vultures are thought to pass over.
Inspired by the techniques of the Batumi Raptor Count in Georgia a team from the Bulgarian Society For the Protection of Birds (BSPB), Doğa Derneği and the RSPB set-up camp in Sarimazi, north of the Gulf of Iskenderun in southern Turkey, and started counting passing birds including Egyptian vultures mid-August till mid-October
In total a whopping 106,731 birds were counted including 813 Egyptian vultures, over 10,000 Short-toed snake eagles, and over 37,000 lesser spotted eagles.
Even some of the captive-bred Egyptian vultures released in Bulgaria this summer were spotted at the migration count.
A full breakdown of the daily count and total count can be found on Sarimazi count website.
Over the next couple of months we'll bring you some updates from the birds as they overwinter and as soon as they begin their northward migration next spring we'll let you know.