Winter has not yet started, yet bearded vultures are already starting a new breeding cycle.
Bearded vultures are one of the earliest breeders in Europe – their timing perfectly adapted to have chicks in early spring, when many of the mountain herbivores on which they feed (when they die) have their first births – and birth complications!
Bearded vultures repair or build their nests in November-December, and lay their eggs in January, incubating them through the coldest winter months – snow and cold of their mountain realms does not deter them. Pairs are now well established in their breeding territories, often visiting and repairing their nests, and they are also mating – the film above, shot last week in Termignon, within the Vanoise National Park (Haute-Savoie, France) shows the two adults of this long-established pair, named Gelas et Stelvio.
This pair is one of the 11 pairs currently breeding in the French Alps, within the area covered by LIFE GYPHELP, a EU-funded conservation project to enhance the population of this species in the region, in which the VCF is participating.