On the 24th of June, at 10:04 a.m., a 119 days old chick fledged from a bearded vulture nest in Andorra, the first success after 4 years of failures. This has been superbly documented through a high quality video camera that had been placed near the nest (see video above).
This pair first established a territory in 2002, and their first breeding attempt occurred in 2004. Over the last 13 years at least seven chicks hatched and five fledged.
In 1999 the Andorra Government started an Action Plan for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture in Andorra (PACT), together with the NGO ADN. Since it was difficult to monitor the nest and check breeding progress – and therefore determine the real causes of breeding failures, in 2010 it was decided to try to install video cameras near the nest.
During the last six breeding seasons the nest has been monitored 24h a day. This is providing the PACT managers an exhaustive and detailed knowledge not only about the causes of failures, but also on breeding and chick rearing behavior.
One of the causes of breeding failure has been weather-related factors – this nest is quite exposed. This was the case in 2014 when the nest became completely covered with snow, when one of the adult birds was incubating. The nest then became wet when snow melted, leading to the loss of the clutch.
Ravens have also been causing breeding failures. It was known that abandoned clutches were predated by ravens, but in 2015 the cameras documented how a 3 1/2 weeks old chick was predated by a raven.
After this dramatic event, the pair changed nest site and a new camera system was installed in the new site – fortunately this year the pair had breeding success, and the whole breeding season was documented in high-quality video stream.