For the 12th consecutive year teams of volunteers and experts from the different projects searched the skies last October around the Alps, Massif Central and the eastern Pyrenees for bearded vultures on International bearded vulture Observation Day (IOD). The last IOD was incredibly popular with over 900 people participating and included, for the first time, Andalucía and Castilla y León in Spain.
International Observation Day
Organised by the International Bearded Vulture Monitoring Network (IBM), the International Observation Day takes place for a week in October with a single focal day, where members of the public join bearded vulture experts and experienced bird watchers to carry out simultaneous and coordinated surveys of bearded vultures in the Alps, Massif Central and the eastern Pyrenees.
The last IOD saw more than 920 observers set off on the survey equipped with recording sheets and binoculars to record sightings at the 573 observation sites between 10am and 3pm on Saturday, 7th October. On this day, more than 530 bearded vulture observations were reported.
These days are instrumental in raising public awareness of this endangered species and the observations are a massive achievement in surveying the bearded vulture population. We would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work.
By taking part in the survey, the bearded vulture observers are helping scientists at the IBM estimate the number of bearded vultures living in the Alps and the Massif Central.
In many cases, thanks to the efforts and knowledge of the survey coordinators, birds can be identified to an individual level, this along with the size of the survey generates baseline information to analyse survival rates of birds and predict demographic make-up of the population, helping to evaluate the success of reintroduction projects.
In the Alps the population size is estimated between 208 and 251 individuals, which is a great comeback for the species in the area over the last 30 years ago. In the Massif Central the population was estimated at six individuals (released birds) whilst in Andalusia and Castilla y León the population is estimated to be around 23 individuals. During the International Observation Days 70 bearded vultures could be identified on an individual level, providing valuable information about the life-history and survival rates of these birds.
International Observation Day 2018 will take place between Saturday 6 and Saturday 13 October. If you could like to participate contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.