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Vagrancy season: two young bearded vultures flying around northern Europe (UK and Denmark)

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While the first ever bearded vulture to be seen in the UK – found on the 12th of May in south wales, and seen early this week over Dartmoor and Cornwall (see composite photo by Steve Gantlett) – is still around, a second bird was seen in Denmark at Møn by B.O.Hemmingsen (see photo of single bird with two corvids). B.O.Hemmingsen  Earlier, on the 9th of May, a bird had already been seen in Belgium – most probably the same bird that went later to the UK?

The UK bird (probably a second year) does not seem have any ring or markings, suggesting it could be a wild bird – which could come from the Alps or the Pyrenees. All released birds (in the reintroduction projects managed by the VCF) are ringed, and also equipped with a tracking tag – none of these tags are currently in northern Europe. Even if these fall (which sometimes happens), they get some of their wing-feathers bleached, which allows us to identify them in flight. These marks should still be visible in a two year old bird.

Flying great distances and exploring new areas is normal for young bearded vultures. To fly all the way to the north is not that common, but it happens every now and then, usually in Spring.

The normal home of bearded vultures are the mountainous regions of Europe, Asia and Africa. There they find the perfect conditions for flying, steep walls for breeding & open landscape to search for bones to feed on.  Let’s hope the young bird finds the way back to the mountains!

For an article on The Guardian on the UK bird also see here

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