How not to migrate, tells the Egyptian Vulture Vanya

19.09.2018

© Atanas Delchev

Both Egyptian vultures, released this summer in the Eastern Rhodopes through the hacking method, began their migration in early September. One of them, Anna crossed the Sea of ​​Marmara through the islands of Marmara. When she arrived to the Adrasan peninsula Anna flew off twice to sea, but she was dangerously losing height, so she returned back to the shore. She is currently in Adana province. The other bird - named Vanya, made a dangerous and unexpected move in Madzharovo, landing on a roof of a house. The project team managed to capture the bird and return it back to the rocks.

 

Vanya then headed south to Greece. There she chose atypical ways to look for food - she preferred to do this in yards of houses around settlements and rested on roofs of various buildings, including a church, even a street lamp on the highway. Due to the fact that such behavior exposes the bird to serious threats on its way to Africa, the project team decided to catch Vanya. Thanks to the rapid and professional reaction of a WWF-Greece team, the bird was caught and is currently in the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Centre - Green Balkans in Stara Zagora.

 

Vanya was given a medical check-up. The results showed that the bird has  many parasites and overweight - after leaving the nests and in the period of preparation for migration, young birds lose some of their weight at the expense of more developed breast muscles and a small mass that it helps to easily fly over the vast distance of over 5,000 miles to the winter grounds. Vanya's worrying behavior – she does not show fear of people' - creates a case that will be discussed with experts from the EEP of EAZA during a forthcoming workshop in Athens.

 

The two birds were tagged with satellite transmitters and placed in the adaptation aviary (hack) on August 10th. The experimental "hacking" method - adaptation to the wild life of captive-bred vultures trough an artificial nest, aims to strengthen the endangered population of the Egyptian vulture on the Balkans.

 

The activity is carried out by a team of BSPB and Green Balkans within the framework of the LIFE project "Egyptian Vulture New LIFE”, which brings together institutions and organizations from 14 countries spanning the Balkans, Middle East and Africa. The two Egyptian vultures have been donated to the project with the assistance of Anton Vaidl - coordinator of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), and with the assistance of VCF.

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LIFE project Egyptian vulture New LIFE, hacking, EAZA, BSPB, Green Balkans