Remember Herculis and Roman? They are the two young bearded vultures released in June 2015 in the Parco Naturale del Alpi Marittime, as part of the bearded vulture reintroduction project in the Alps. Together with 5 other birds released elsewhere in the Alps, these two males, born in captivity within the VCF-coordinated bearded vulture captive breeding network, were released in the Southern Alps to boost the population in this mountain chain. Supported by the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco, the Parco Naturale del Alpi Marittime organised the release and took good care of the birds before they fledged from their hacking platform – with the support of the VCF and SWILD the young birds could also be equipped with a GPS transmitter (see our news).
Both young birds spent the first few months after the release around the hacking site, but also explored the area of the nearby Mercantour National Park in France. Herculis mostly remained in the Alpi Marittimme-Mercantour area, but Roman started to explore more and more, and already flew as far north as Aosta and made it almost to Chambery and Albertville.
The first autumn/winter is always the most critical period in the life cycle of a bearded vulture as the young birds are still inexperienced and might have some difficulties in finding food. Therefore the GPS transmitters also help us to keep an eye on the birds and see if they are doing fine. During the winter the flying forays usually reduce, also due to the lack of good thermal updrafts, but next Spring we may see some interesting movements – young bearded vultures usually do their biggest excursions in their first spring.
You can follow the birds online on our homepage here>>