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Griffon Vultures lay an egg in the Eastern Balkan Mountains for a second year in a row

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Young bearded vultures released in Cazorla (Andalucía), Spain 1
First pictures of the egg

This is the first breeding pair of Griffon Vultures in the Eastern Balkan Mountains for the past 50 years. The two birds were released back in 2009 by the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna from a special adaptation aviary set up near the town of Kotel. We told you about them last year, once we discovered their nest near the Reservoir of Tsonevo, thanks to a prototype GPS/GSM transmitter, fixed on the male – 7G. The, due to disturbance or lack of experience, the pair could not hatch their very first egg.

This year the French-Spanish pair of Griffons decided to move closer and took a rock niche in direct proximity to the supplementary feeding site above Kotel, maintained within the Vulutres Return in Bulgaria LIFE08 NAT/BG/278 Project. The family constructed their nest on a niche of North exposure, which was our first concern. Furthermore, due to the constant presence of food for the rest of the released vultures, the area is also inhabited by an active pair of Golden Eagles and a lot of Ravens. Golden Eagles are very grumpy neighbours, while Ravens would love a left-for-a-minute-egg for breakfast.

Unfortunately all our fears got confirmed and around March 20th it became clear that the two birds have given up their second nesting attempt. On March 25th a team of alpinists of Green Balkans climbed into the abandoned niche to rescue a potentially abandoned egg. Unfortunately all we found were egg shells. The good news is that they obviously had an egg for a second year in a row. The pair is relatively young and non-experienced and this might explain their lack of success. The husband came from the French Zoo de Doue and this is barely his second attempt. Such things also happen in nature, among the wild pairs. Furthermore, the egg of our captive Griffon Vultures kept in the Wildlife Rescue Centre of Green Balkans – Stara Zagora was also proven not to hatch this year.

We hope that the experience our young parents is gaining will eventually help them and we are looking forward to their next attempt!

For more information, please contact:
Elena Kmetova – project coordinator;
e-mail: ekmetova@greenbalkans.org; phone: + 359 885 219 557

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