Supplementary food for breeding success

04.04.2014

Photo: S. Spasov

With the arrival of the Egyptian vultures starts the individual supplementary feeding with high quality food. The meat is free from substances harmful to the birds: high concentration of antibiotics, heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals. We focus on some individual and more problematic pairs of Egyptian Vultures: with not enough “responsible husbands”, solitary parents, or pairs with very low breeding success. Feedings are done with small quantities of food on the nest rock or next to it, out of reach of terrestrial scavengers. Two couples and one single bird are being fed in Northern Bulgaria. Another two couples are expected to arrive soon and they will enjoy the supplementary food, too. In Greece, two vulture restaurants are operative in Dadia and Meteora, while supplementary food will be provided in two pairs in the Meteora-Antichasia region.

In the Rhodope Mountains starts the feeding of 10 pairs and each of them will receive food at least 2 times a week. Some of the couples will be photographed during the feeding, in order to be identified by the characteristic scars on their faces. That will facilitate the study of social life of vultures and the change of partners within the mating pair. It will also give us valuable information about the mortality in elder birds.

The individual supplementary feeding of the Egyptian vultures is one of the key conservation activities of the “Return of the Neophron” project. The activity aims at improving the diet of breeding pairs, as insufficient food sources are among the main reasons for the unsuccessful breeding of the vultures. Supplementary feeding also reduces the risk of finding poisoned food.

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