The bearded vulture breeding season in the Alps is quite advanced, and so far, we have news of at least 45 occupied territories across this mountain chain. There are three territories in the eastern part of the Alps, 18 in the Central Alps, 20 in the north-western Alps and four in the south-western part of the Alpine range (see map). In terms of countries, there are 3 pairs in Austria, 20 in Switzerland, 9 in Italy and 13 in France (see map).
At least 39 of these pairs have laid eggs – amongst those, three new breeding pairs, in Bonette (FRA – south-west), Buffalora (CH – Central) and Trupchun (CH – Central). So far, we have information about 13 young bearded vultures that already hatched, and there are still another 21 nest with clutches where we can hope for success and break the last year’s record of 25 fledglings! We also have news of 5 breeding failures with unknown causes. We are still expecting news from several pairs. Last year 43 breeding territories produced 25 fledglings, while in 2015 there were 34 pairs and 20 fledglings.
The VCF coordinates the reintroduction project in the Alps, together with many partners in 4 countries. First releases started in 1986, the first breeding in the wild was in 1997 and now we are only releasing genetically rare individuals to strengthen the genetic diversity of the population before closing this most successful project – the population is now expanding rapidly with the breeding of wild pairs.
Photo: Bruno Berthemy/VCF