Roc Genèse, the first wild bearded vulture nestling ever tagged in the French pre-Pyrenees, is now in the Alt-Àneu in the Spanish Pyrenees, east of the Baqueira-Beret ski resort (see map), between the Parc Natural del Alt-Pirineu, the Parc Nacional d´Aiguestortes and the Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Ariégeoises.
Analyses from its feathers also revealed that it is a male. Roc Genèse flew off from its nest in the Aude, in the French eastern pre-Pyrenees, on the 20th May last year, as part of the LIFE GYPCONNECT project. The nestling hatched in the easternmost known Pyrenean nest, therefore the closest to the Massif Central, where a reintroduction project is being implemented by the VCF, LPO and other partners.
After his first flight, Roc Genèse spent some time near the nesting area, roosting in a cliff about 3km from the nest, and often foraging in another area about 6 km away from the natal nest. Then in June he did his first big movement – a flight of 21km. He then started to explore more and more – flying all the way to the central Pyrenees (Parc Nacional de Ordesa), before returning East.
Its parents are again nesting this year, and they started incubating in early December in a different nest from last year, one that they had already used in the past (without success – let´s hope that this year they will succeed again!)
On the other hand, a supremacy feeding site created in the Corbières – quite far away from the Pyrenees, overlooking the Aude valley, was last summer visited by an adult bearded vulture which has been frequenting the region in the last 3 years – but this bird has not been seen since last September. One observation of an adult bird on the 1st December over the valley of Aude (Castelnaudary, observed by C. Riols from the motorway!) gives us hope that in the future more and more birds will fly across the valley from the Pyrenees into the Massif central.
Led by the League pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO), in partnership with the VCF, Vautours en Baronnies, Centre National d’ Informations Toxicologiques Vétérinaires, Electricité Réseau Distribution France, Parc National des Cévennes, Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors, LPO Aude, and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris 6, the LIFE GYPCONNECT project aims to establish a breeding population of bearded vultures in the Massif Central, as well as in the Pre-Alps, through reintroduction, and promoting dispersal movements between the Alps and the Pyrenean populations. Last year 4 young bearded vultures were released in the project area, two in the Grands Causses and two in Baronnies – the first time that bearded vultures were released in the latter region. The project also includes the establishment of supplementary feeding points to try to attract bearded vultures from the Pyrenees to cross the Aude valley.