Film about the raptor census in Sarimazi, Turkey 2018


© Volen Arkumarev

In September a team from the Bulgarian Society For the Protection of Birds (BSPB), Doğa Derneği (BirdLife International Turkey) and RSPB counted 813 Egyptian vultures, over 10,000 Short-toed snake eagles, over 37,000 Lesser spotted eagles, 23,000 Levant Sparrowhawks and 30,000 individuals of another 22 raptor species in three points north of the Gulf of Iskenderun, near the cities of Sarimazi and Selimiye, Turkey. These three observation points offer a great view of the predatory birds flying over the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.


The monitoring was carried out within the framework of the project “Egyptian Vulture New LIFE” on the model of other large-scale research which has been organized for years in Batumi, Georgia. The monitoring in Sarimazi also had an educational element with the goal of training local partners of the project in Turkey and attracting more volunteers. This is also the mission of the film, dedicated to the monitoring of the migration of the Egyptian vulture and other raptor species in Sarimazi. Everyone can participate in the coming years and enjoy the view of thousands of flying birds.


The population of the Egyptian vulture in the Balkans is tracked by monitoring breeding territories and feeding stations where many young and adult birds land for food. There is another method that makes it possible to calculate the number of birds flying through the migratory bottlenecks. Preliminary research carried out in 2013 showed that Sarimazi in the region of Adana, Turkey, is one of these places. Hundreds of Egyptian vultures can be seen there only during the month of September. Thus, given optimal resources can be also track population trends in the species in western Turkey where there is still a lack of information. Along with the vultures, many other species of migrating predatory birds are monitored, which shows the role of the Egyptian vulture as a so-called “umbrella species”: protecting the species and its breeding territories, migration paths, and wintering grounds also benefits a number of other rare and endangered species.


A special platform on the project’s website presented statistics and live information daily on the number of observed Egyptian vultures and other predatory birds. In total 106,731 birds were counted.


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.