One month in the wild


It has been already one month since Fer and Andi were released in the wild in Bulgaria. The two young Egyptian Vultures had many challenges in the beginning – they had to find safe places to spend the night, to handle the attacks of the annoying crows and ravens. Andi immediately started visiting the feeding station near the release site while it took Fer a few days to realize where the save food is. After overcoming the hunger, the two vultures could spend more time in practicing their flight abilities simply soaring up with the help of the warm air thermals or gliding over the cliffs and even swirling towards the ground and then proudly rising up. They quickly learned how to repel the crows and even started teasing them on their turn. Day after day Andi and Fer were building up their confidence, gaining strength and experience which would help them to meet the ultimate challenge – surviving into the wild!


Andi was the first to start exploring the Eastern Rhodopes with making one-day trips first to the east, then south, then north and east again. He was slowly enlarging his range and visiting some other Egyptian Vulture territories. One day he decided to go to Greece and less then 3 hours later he was already in the Greek part of the mountain. Andi stayed two days in the territory of Iliaz who made his first breeding attempt this year. For those who don’t know - Iliaz is an Egyptian Vulture which we tagged with a GPS transmitter as a chick in Eastern Rhodopes in 2012. He is now an adult and last year he found a partner and settled in a breeding territory in Greece. We were able to follow his life from the very beginning. Andi was even roosting not far away from Iliaz’s nest so obviously, the two were getting along well. A week later Andi decided to visit Greece again but this time flew straight towards Dadia National Park and joined the Black Vulture colony for the weekend.


Meanwhile, Fer is still more attached to the feeding station and the release site. He started moving east and north from the place and also visited some other Egyptian vulture territories. He visited the feeding station near Madzharovo and was photographed by foreign tourists feeding together with a big group of Griffon Vultures. Fer seems to be very calm and is always friendly with the other birds visiting the feeding station. He is flying extremely well but also is very good at spotting carcasses in the wild.


Fer’s bigger brother joined the club of immatures in early June. Panteley was released in the same location a year ago. He was raised by the same parent as Fer in Jerez Zoo, Spain. Panteley spent the winter in Crete and now returned to the release site. In the first few days upon his return, he was intensively feeding on the feeding station and recovering from the migration. Once he was fit and full of energy again Panteley started exploring all over Bulgaria. First, he made a one-day visit to Sakar mountain, then he made a two-day visit to Turkey and Strandzha mountain. After a while, he decided to go even further and undertook the longest trip until now by reaching the Danube river in the north of the country. Yesterday he moved southwest from the release site and reached the lowlands near Plovdiv but didn’t like the flat landscape and quickly returned back to the mountains where he belongs. After the travels, Panteley was always returning back to the feeding station in Eastern Rhodopes.


Now the gang is together again and we are looking forward to following and share with you their new adventures in the wild!


Everyone can track the movements of all tagged Egyptian vultures here.


The LIFE project "Egyptian Vulture New LIFE (LIFE16 NAT/BG/000874) brings together institutions and organizations from 14 countries spanning the Balkans, Middle East and Africa and is implemented with the financial support of the EU LIFE Programme. The Coordinating Beneficiary is the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria (BSPB). Associated Beneficiaries are:  Hellenic Ornithological Society / BirdLife Greece (HOS),  WWF Greece, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife UK (RSPB), Doğa Derneği / BirdLife Turkey (DD), regional offices of BirdLife International in Africa and Middle East, A.P. Leventis Ornithological and Research Institute (APLORI), CMS Raptors MoU, Green Balkans.