A short story on our athletes

28.01.2018
1. Iliaz‘s wintering grounds - between 2012 and 2014

Only 5 out of total 27 birds tagged since 2012 survived by 2018 to surprise us with new interesting stories.

Iliaz is the only survivor from the nine juveniles tagged in 2012. The bird is already an adult (almost 6 years old) with an amazing background. Iliaz wintered from the east to the west of the whole Sahel area in the last 4 winters, used multiple and different migration roads (Figure 1, 2, 3 and 4) and in 2017 returned for a second time in the Balkans. Its spring migration in 2017 started on 4th of April from Sudan (where it spent the winter) and ended up on 29th of April in Bulgaria. Iliaz spent lots of time on the feeding station in Studen Kladenets, the Eastern Rhodopes, operated by the BSPB but also visited the feeding station supported by the FWFF in the Kotel mountains, Central Bulgaria. The autumn trip back to Africa started on the 30th of August from the Eastern Rhodopes and ended up on the 1st of October in Central Chad. On the way back to Africa Iliaz made 2 longer stops, in central Turkey and Egypt, to feed and stay in a good fitness during the long trip. The bird winters in desert and semi desert habitats in central Chad to woodland savanna n the south, spending nights on the ground or on top trees.

Aoos is an adult female breeding in Albania. In terms of its migration behavior, it is one of the most conservative birds we have ever seen. Aoos covers the same migration route since it was tagged in 2015 – from the area of Chad lake to Albania and back (Figure 5). In 2017 Aoos started the spring migration on 9th of March and reached the breeding grounds on the 12th of April. In the Autumn, its route was the same, starting on the fateful date of 11th of September from Albania to successfully reach again Chad lake on the 6th of October. More or less Aoos follows the same migratory corridor flying straight forward south and north with no stops except for roosting. The bird is wintering in a desert and semi-desert habitats in Chad.

Elodie is the only among the three captive bred juveniles provided by the EEP of EAZA tagged in 2016 that successfully flew over the Mediterranean sea and safely reached the wintering grounds. Elodie temporally settled in the border area between Niger and Nigeria. Elodie‘s wintering grounds are a mixture of semi desert and savanna habitats with dense population and many settlements in the area. Often spends the night on top trees, bushes, or on the ground. Unfortunately in September 2017 the bird was shot for bush meat in Niger (evidence kindly provided by SCF) – expect soon details on the case.

Boris is an adult male,tagged in 2015, that breeds in the area of Studen Kladenets, Bulgaria. The bird traditionally spends the winter in Afar, Ethiopia, close to Djibouti border (Figure 6).Boris is very often roosting on the main power line between Djibouti and Ethiopia which is safe for the bird and sticks to a compact area feeding in and around human settlements In 2017, he started the spring migration on the 2nd of March to reach the breeding grounds only in 20 days. Few months later, Boris and his partner raised one chick who successfully left the nest on the 18th of August. About a month later, on 21st of September,  Boris hit the migration road south and reached Ethiopia only in 16 days!

Jenny is an adult female tagged in 2015, who was left without a partner due to delayed return in the breeding grounds in 2016. The late return was caused by a sandstorm in Africa and her mate found a new female meanwhile. Thus, during the breeding season 2016 Jenny did not breed but was floating within the Eastern Rhodopes. Nevertheless, in autumn 2016 Jenny migrated back to Africa and spent the winter in Central Chad (Figure 7). Jenny is wintering in almost the same area of Chad where Aoos spends the winter. They sometimes share the same areas and come across each other or migrate very close using the same corridor. On the 15th of March she headed back to Bulgaria. It took almost a month to reach the breeding grounds where she spent some time in the western parts of the Eastern Rhodopes before she found a partner. What a great news for us, the tag on her back helped us to find very easy the location of the new pair and to observe it mating together. She found a new home 15 km away from the old one with a new partner. Very often in the birds of prey and vultures the young or new formed pairs didn‘t raise chicks because they are not experienced enough. Jenny found the partner relativelly late in the season too so finally they didn‘t have chicks. On the 12th of September Jenny left the new breeding territory and started her autumn migration . She reached the wintering grounds in central Chad it on the 28th of September.

Find more information about the movements of the tagged Egyptian vultures here.

 

2. Iliaz‘s wintering grounds – winter 2014 – 2015
3. Iliaz‘s wintering grounds  – winter 2015 – 2016
4. Iliaz‘s wintering grounds – winter 2016 – 2017
5. Aoos migration road and wintering grounds (2015 – 2018)
6. The wintering grounds and part of the migration road of Boris (2015 – 2018)
7. The wintering grounds and the migration road of Jenny (2015 – 2018)
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