Bernardus – the young black vulture female which already flew over large parts of Europe, and has been wintering in Central Spain near Toledo, is again on the move!
The two year old black vulture spent her two last winters in Spain (2015/2016 in Andalusia and 2016-2017 mostly in Castilla-La Mancha, but she is now heading again for France – in the last two days she flew 325 km to the north-east (straight line). Where will she go next?
Bernardus was born in the Pairi Daiza Zoo/Animal park, Cambron, Belgium, within the European captive breeding program (EEP) for the Eurasian black vulture, which tries try to breed the species in captivity to provide the chicks for reintroduction projects in the wild. Bernardus was transferred to Verdon (France) in the summer of 2015 and released there (see photo of her with her tag).
In November 2015 she started an amazing journey, taking her all across the Iberian peninsula. You can follow the story here:
After spending its first winter in southern Spain, Bernardus flew all the way around the Iberian peninsula and continued north to Frankfurt in Germany, and then back south to France.
During last year´s spring and summer she visited the Massif Central, but spent most of the time in the Alps. Will she go there next?
The VCF has been involved with the reintroduction of black vultures in France, mostly by facilitating the transfer of birds from Spain (wild origin, but coming via rehabilitation centres after they are picked up injured or exhausted), in collaboration with regional administrations in Spain and the French NGOs associated with the reintroduction sites. There are now at least 35 pairs of black vultures breeding in France, in three different nuclei, and soon this reintroduction project will wrap up.
Photo: Marc Pastouret