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The view from the other VCF office

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Each year, during the summer months, we spend several weeks up in the mountains in the Swiss Alps to take care and observe the released young bearded vultures, at the Swiss release site, part of the network of sites in the Alps where the species is being reintroduced. The released vultures are observed all day long in their hacking platform, as long there is enough daylight to see them through the telescope and binoculars. For this we live in two containers high up in the mountains, above the treeline, right in the midst of the alpine habitat of bearded vultures. In this amazing landscape each day offers something new and special: the weather, flowers, other birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. So even if the young bearded vultures sleep during a prolonged siesta, it is never boring, there is always something else to explore and see.

But the most important are the young bearded vultures! They were “released” in their platform at the end of May (read the story here) when they were 100 days old, and have made a lot of progress ever since. After their first flights in mid June they are now starting to explore the valleys next to the release site. But right now all three can still be observed daily at the release site.

Beside all the other animals the occurrence of other bearded vultures at the release site is always a highlight. The interactions between the newly released birds and the older birds are very interesting. This year in Switzerland a 1-year old wild-hatched bearded vulture visited the three released females. After the first visit one evening and some small fights between the birds, it visited the area also in the next days and then disappeared again.

The birds will continue to be monitored at the release site for a little while. After they start flying bigger distances and are able to find enough food on their own, we will pack our things and head back to the “normal” office. But we continue to follow the birds also in the future: all of the carry small GPS devices on their back and the movements of the three released birds in Switzerland can be followed here>>

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