Feeding Egyptian vultures in Greece: an ongoing effort

07.10.2016
EV at feeding site in Meteora

Autumn is here and Egyptian vultures have already left their breeding grounds in Greece and Bulgaria and are heading to their "wintering holiday destinations" in Africa (Sudan, Ethiopia, Chad...). Fieldwork has mostly finished until next season. And we say "mostly", because there are still some jobs to do; they might not be as attractive as monitoring a nest or trapping and tagging birds, but they are still necessary. The cleaning of the feeding stations that have been working throughout the breeding season to provide safe and reliable food for the few remaining vultures in Greece is certainly not a job for the squeamish, but it has to be done.

The Project has managed to operate in total three feeding sites in Greece. The largest one, in the area of Meteora, was an already existing feeding site which had not been operating for the last years. Thanks to the project, the feeding site was reopened and supplied weekly with food, supporting at least two of the pairs that survive in the area. The other two sites were what are known as "light feeding sites", and were created in the wider area of Konitsa, in Epirus, close to the border with Albania. The aim of these two sites was on the one hand, to support pairs nesting in the neighbouring Albania that visit the valley of Konitsa on a daily basis to forage for food, and on the other, to attract any floaters or subadults present in the area in an attempt to encourage them to recolonize this area of Epirus. The novelty of these two light feeding sites is that there is an ongoing collaboration with carefully selected local stakeholders, who also supply food for the vultures whenever possible. This is a great advantage as it means that the sites are self-sustainable and that their operation is ensured beyond the end of the project.

The feeding sites are monitored constantly by means of trap cameras, activated by movement. In particular, the cameras at the feeding site located in Meteora have provided really good snapshots of the birds in the area. These photographs are useful not only to monitor the presence of the birds and their use of the feeding site, but also to learn things about their feeding habits and identify different individuals through their plumage patterns and face markings.

Although the Project is approaching its end, the actions and efforts to save this emblematic species will continue!

 

EV at feeding site in Meteora
Other visitors at Meteora's feeding site
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Useful information
The Return of the Neophron project won the Natura 2000 Award

The Return of the Neophron project won the Natura 2000 Award

Follow the flight of the endangered Egyptian Vultures on the World Migratory Bird Day

Follow the flight of the endangered Egyptian Vultures on the World Migratory Bird Day