Spring welcomes the first Egyptian vultures on the Balkans


© Dimitris Vavylis

This year, Meteora welcomed the first Egyptian Vulture for 2016 in the Balkans. The first bird was observed on the 17th of March by a local livestock breeder flying above his stable, probably searching for wool for its nest. Two days after, on the 19th of March, another Egyptian Vulture was observed: the first Egyptian Vulture couple of the year flying above the village of Vlachava.

In Bulgaria on the 21 March two Egyptian vultures were observed by the project team at the feeding station in Studen Kladenets. One of the two observed birds was Boris - the adult Egyptian vulture that was tagged with satellite transmitter in July last year. Thanks to the satellite transmitter everyone could watch the migration of Boris to Africa, where he wintered in eastern Afar near the border with Djibouti.

In preparation for their return teams of LIFE + project "The Return of the Neophron" have placed photo traps in nesting niches in Bulgaria and Greece. Three photo traps were installed in Bulgaria, and two in Greece - in Dadia forest and Nea Santa (Rodopi).

The photo traps and the video camera give us useful information about the diet and the behavior of the adults and the young birds in the nest. Photo traps allows us to identify threats to the species, and the reasons for breeding failures. Some photos have captured other species like Black stork, Red rumped swallow, Blue-rock trush, Kestrels, Little Owl or Jackdaw. Some of them, such as Мarten, Еagle Оwl, Raven, Peregrine Falcon, are enemies of the Egyptian vulture.  In 2012 2 photo traps were installed in Bulgaria, and 2 in Greece; in 2013 - 3 in Bulgaria and 2 in Greece; in 2014 – 2 in Bulgaria and 2 in Greece; in 2015 – 3 in Bulgaria and one in Greece.

We are waiting impatiently for the arrival of more birds and hopefully for some new ones that will give us hope for the species survival in Greece and Bulgaria.

LIFE+ project The Return of the Neophron, BSPB, Egyptian vulture, photo traps