New bearded vulture pairs in the French Alps

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With the breeding season in full swing, preliminary data about the bearded vulture population in the French Alps is very encouraging – observers suggest there are at least 4, possibly 5 new pairs in the French Alps, when compared with last year.

In Haute-Savoie the 4 traditional pairs are now incubating, but there are two new pairs, one at Passy – the pair built two nests, but there is still no incubation, and the other one at Aravis Sud (Mt Charvi – col de l’Arpettaz).

In Savoie the situation is also encouraging – two of the 4 established pairs (Termignon and Peisey-Nancroix) are incubating, while egg laying is expected any moment at Val d’Isère and Bessans – while a fifth, new pair has installed itself at Bourg saint Maurice and is incubating!

Considering that there could also be a new pair in the Parc National de Mercantour, this means the French Alps may see this year 4 new pairs – precisely in the area where the LIFE GYPHELP project – aiming to enhance the bearded vulture population – is taking place.

This is the most critical period of the year for the breeding birds, and it is now important to minimise disturbance around the nests. French NGOs and the National Parks have been publishing maps to restrict some outdoor activities that can have a negative impact on the birds, notably alpinism, ice climbing, wing suit jumping, parapente, and other activities.

Very soon our partners ASTERS (Conservatoire d´Espaces Naturels de Haute-Savoie) is organising on the 20th February a simultaneous monitoring day, from 10:00 to 14:00, from safe points near all the nests. In this count all the pairs will be controlled, including their breeding status, and movements of the adults. If you live in the area and would like to help, please contact Etienne Marlé ( until the 17th February.

Photo Antoine Rezer

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