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An elder Griffon Vulture pair inaugurates the breeding season in Sardinia

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LIFE Safe for Vultures An older Griffon Vulture pair inaugurates the new breeding season in Sardinia
An older Griffon Vulture pair laid the first egg of the new breeding season in Sardinia © Alfonso Campus/ L’Altra Bosa (This photograph was taken using digiscoping without disturbing the birds)

The new Griffon Vulture breeding season in Sardinia is off to a good start as LIFE Safe for Vultures monitoring activities detected the arrival of the first egg.

First Griffon Vulture egg of the new season arrives in Sardinia

During one of the typical LIFE Safe for Vultures monitoring activities, Alfonso Campus from the L’Altra Bosa association, a group of volunteers and enthusiasts, detected an exciting development. A few days ago, somewhere remote in the Bosano area, an elderly pair laid its first and only egg of the new Griffon Vulture breeding season in Sardinia. In fact, it is the fourth year in a row that the two individuals have used the same nest, situated on a long covered ledge at a high cliff. 

The Griffon Vulture breeding season in Sardinia

The breeding season for Griffon Vultures begins in late autumn, with rituals that cement the bond between a breeding pair. This pair-bonding behaviour involves displays of aerial acrobatics with pairs flying in tandem as well as mutual preening and nest building with males sourcing the majority of the nest-building materials, nesting in high cliffs or mountainous colonies. “Usually, Griffon Vultures start laying clutches in mid-January and continue until February, with a few late pairs in March,” states Campus. This stage “is one of the most delicate periods in the Griffon Vulture’s reproductive cycle, which ends in August when the young fledge, as a disturbance at the breeding site could lead to the removal of the adult, which if prolonged can be fatal to the offspring,” he adds. To avoid such risks, competent stakeholders and organisations authorised by the regional environmental department regularly carry out checks in specific territories. As certified by Alfonso Campus’ photograph capturing this occasion by using his mobile phone against a 20-60×80 telescope, monitoring teams keep a suitable distance with the help of appropriate magnifying equipment, which allows them to produce the necessary visual documentation while preventing any possible disturbance.

The breeding period is very delicate for pairs, and breeding success also depends on our behaviour. So, if you are a nature lover, tourist, hiker, and photographer, please respect the area and the vultures. 

LIFE Safe for Vultures

LIFE Safe for Vultures logo

LIFE Safe for Vultures is a new project co-financed by the EU’s LIFE Programme, acting as the first step to the restoration of the vulture guild in Sardinia. The University of Sassari leads the project in collaboration with Agenzia Regionale ForestasSardegna Corpo ForestaleE-Distribuzione and the Vulture Conservation Foundation. LIFE Safe for Vultures builds on the work of the successful LIFE Under Griffon Wings, with the ultimate objective for Griffon Vultures to regain their historic ranges and distribution areas from the central-eastern part of Sardinia to the south and at the same time promote the long-term survival of the species on the island. The project team is working to expand the network of farm feeding stations, create several anti-poison dog units to tackle wildlife poisoning, establish an additional feeding station in the south of the island, restock the population by importing 40 additional Griffon Vultures and reduce the threat of collision and electrocution with energy infrastructures.

LIFE SAFE for VULTURES project partner funder logos
L'altra Bosa Logo

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