Nest guarding for the Egyptian Vulture
Over the centuries the only long-distance migrant from the vulture family has appeared in many mysterious legends. Revered by many cultures, it has been even called ‘the bird of the Pharaohs’. Due to its feeding habits and the attentive care it shows for its young, the ancient Egyptians perceived it as a symbol of maternity and prosperity. The lack of sexual dimorphism wrongly led the Egyptians to believe that all Egyptian Vultures were female and bred through parthenogenesis. The oral tradition preserved these legends for centuries and consolidated the vulture’s status as a sacred bird. Another legend recognizes it as the phoenix bird which sets itself on fire and rises from the ashes for a better life. Centuries later a variation of this belief reached Europe; here it claimed that when the birds felt their imminent death, they flew up towards the sky and disappeared in its endless blue…
To the present day Muslims in the Rhodope Mountains believe in a beautiful legend about the unique vulture with white plumage. Very long ago the Egyptian Vulture was brown like its cousins; when an eagle attacked Muhammad, it was the only bird that came to help him. It defeated the eagle with cunning, and not power, and the Prophet blessed it with the white colour of its plumage, as well as a thousand-years-long life. Therefore many Muslims regard the Egyptian Vulture as a sacred bird and still observe a taboo of sorts – they dare not disturb the bird and its nest and reverently name it “Ak Baba” – the White Father.
Today, as we find less and less time for legends and fairy tales in our busy everyday life, the White Father is threatened by extinction. It needs Guardians who can help it to return to us safely.
The Egyptian Vultures are amazing, useful birds but unfortunately they have become very rare. In order to prevent the extinction of the species we conduct many activities as part of the LIFE+ Project The Return of the Neophron. One of them is very important – nest guarding. Nest guarding is crucial during the breeding season, when the birds can easily be disturbed, and also during the first flight attempts of the juveniles as they often fail. The project will provide funding for nest guarding for the first two years, and from 2014 onwards the activity will be funded through donations.
Your support for fund-raising is crucially important for the conservation of the Egyptian Vulture!
Help us by a donation in one of the offices of the BSPB, on our bank account in Raiffeisenbank – Bulgaria, BGN: IBAN BG55RZBB91551060107329, BIC RZBBBGSF, or here.
Please specify your wish to donate for nest guarding for the Egyptian Vulture in particular.