This year the Vulture Conservation Foundation was part of a new bearded vulture reintroduction project in Spain led by the Wildlife Service of the Generalitat of Valencia, the government of the autonomous region of Valencia. Both reintroduced birds have now fledged and our partners have sent us an update on their first flights around the Maestrazgo region.
Alòs and Amic were released into the wild back in May and spent several weeks in the artificial nest where staff monitored and fed them without any human contact until on 27 June Alòs made the leap and fledged. A few days later Amic followed him and since then they have been exploring their new home of the Tinença de Benifassà Natural Park, staying close to the nesting site.
Being the more adventurous of the two birds it was Alòs who ventured further afield, leaving La Tinença and traveling around 50km north to Peñarroya de Tastavins, in Teruel and spent several days in the area.
During that time Amic was observed as being a little disoriented, spotted several times near the supplementary feeding station but not entering. On return from Teruel Alòs arrived at the feeding station and was reunited with Amic and both were seen feeding there.
First public sighting
As the two birds continued their exploration of the surrounding areas they were spotted on 24 July in the Refalguerí area of La Sénia by two Belgian tourists and their mountain guide, who reported the fighting. In order to identify reintroduced birds while they are in flight we decolour their wing feathers.
Both birds were also fitted with small GPS transmitters that weigh around 35g, that allow the conservation teams to track their movement around the area. Using that data these maps were created, showing how Alos and Amic are exploring their new home.
Maestrazgo reintroduction project
Historically Spain’s Maestrazgo region has been a breeding site for bearded vultures and is regularly visited by individuals released in Andalusia. Led by the Generalitat of Valencia, in collaboration with the Autonomous Communities from Aragón and Catalonia, the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fish, Food and Environment and us here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation, a reintroduction project started in 2018. The aim of the project is to establish a wild breeding population in the Maestrazgo region to bridge the populations in the Pyrenees and Andalusia.