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International Observation Days for Bearded Vultures 2022: Help count Europe’s rarest vulture

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Bearded Vulture in flight © Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture in flight © Hansruedi Weyrich

Do you want to support the conservation and monitoring efforts of Europe’s rarest vulture species? Join us for the International Observation Days (IOD) and help us count Bearded Vultures in Europe on Saturday, 8 October 2022. This citizen science event count on the participation of volunteers since their observations contribute valuable data, which helps monitor the species population in Europe. 

International Observation Days for Bearded Vultures

The International Observation Days for Bearded Vultures started in 2006 and are organised by the International Bearded Vulture Monitoring Network (IBM), coordinated by us here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF). It 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. Initially, the surveys covered the Alpine arc following the Bearded Vulture reintroduction project in the region. As the population has grown thanks to increasing conservation and reintroduction efforts, the IOD has expanded to include the Massif Central in France, Aude in the French Pyrenees, and Andalusia and Maestrazgo in Spain. It also includes Bulgaria, where there are no Bearded Vultures yet, but there are plans to bring the species back to the country and the wider region. 

Why is counting Bearded Vultures important?

This count allows for thorough monitoring of the Bearded Vulture population status and distribution in almost the full distribution range. Furthermore, the count produces many sightings of identifiable birds, and it generates baseline data for conservation scientists to analyze survival rates and model the age structure of the population, which will help us understand the impacts of the reintroduction programmes.

Get involved

The IOD is an ambitious conservation initiative that brings together hundreds of volunteers and experts to search the skies for Europe’s rarest vulture across seven countries in the following regions: the Alps, the Massif Central in France, Aude in the French Pyrenees, Andalusia and Maestrazgo in Spain and Bulgaria. It cannot be achieved without the help of the public! This year’s simultaneous count is taking place for the 17th consecutive time on Saturday, 8 October 2022. We are inviting people to get involved, pick up a pair of binoculars, spend the day in the mountains, help us look for Bearded Vultures and get counting.

Through our network of organizations and IBM partners, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Please contact the regional coordinators below if you are interested in participating or contact us for any other questions:

Austria

Nationalpark Hohe Tauern: bartgeier@hohetauern.at

Bulgaria

Green Balkans: smarin@greenbalkans.org 

France

Asters Haute-Savoie Conservatory of Natural Areas: etienne.marle@asters.asso.fr

Le Parc national du Mercantour

Ubaye: francois.breton@mercantour-parcnational.fr

Verdon: verdon@mercantour-parcnational.fr

Haut Var: varcians@mercantour-parcnational.fr

Tinée: tinee@mercantour-parcnational.fr

Vésubie: vesubie@mercantour-parcnational.fr

Roya Bevera: royabevera@mercantour-parcnational.fr

Parc national de la Vanoise: jerome.cavailhes@vanoise-parcnational.fr

Envergures Alpines: envergures.alpines@gmail.com; Dauphiné: christian.couloumy@gmail.com

Parc naturel régional des Grands Causses: noemie.ziletti@lpo.fr 

Parc naturel régional du Vercors: life.gypaete@pnr-vercors.fr 

Vautours en Baronnies: gypaete@vautoursenbaronnies.com

Italy

Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio: enrico.bassi76@gmail.com

Aosta: c.chioso@regione.vda.it

Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime: fabiano.sartirana@parcoalpimarittime.it

Spain

Junta de Andalusia (Andalusia and Castilla y León): enrique.avila@juntadeandalucia.es

Maestrazgo: davizqace@hotmail.com

Switzerland

Stiftung Pro Bartgeier

Central Switzerland: franziska.loercher@swild.ch

Eastern Switzerland (Graubünden) jenny.d@compunet.ch

Southern Switzerland (Tessin): roberto.lardelli@gmail.com

North-Western Switzerland (Bern) marco.orni@gmail.com

South-Western Switzerland (Valais + Western Switzerland): juliawildi@bluewin.ch

Germany

ZnAlp & LBV (NP Berchtesgaden, Allgäu): henning.werth@reg-schw.bayern.de and toni.wegscheider@lbv.de

Use #CountingBeardedVultures on social media and help raise awareness about this magnificent species!

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