The Bearded Vulture population gives us good news, both in the Peaks of Europe and in the Aragonese Pyrenees. In the former case, it has occurred naturally, while in the latter case, the chicks are currently in the Zaragoza's CRIAH.
23 / 03 / 2020
Recently, the first Bearded Vulture or Lammergeyer in Picos de Europa in 70 years was born. 'Deva' and 'Casanova', a couple formed in 2014, are the parents of the specimen. This year’s success arrived after several failed attempts, related to their lack of experience or the location chosen to place previous nests, too exposed to weather conditions. The confirmation of this birth in Picos de Europa, 400 kilometres from the Pyrenees, and especially if it culminates successfully, is a very important step for the survival of the species in Spain. Currently there are 24 stable specimens in this zone.
The chick is in a hollow of the Asturian side of the National Park, where its parents had been brooding 54 days. In autumn, the Fundación para la Conservación del Quebrantahuesos (FCQ) personnel had observed pre-reproductive behaviour, and in January, they as well as the wardens noticed that the couple had installed themselves in the hollow. They then observed that the egg had been laid and that they were brooding it in turns, until just recently, a change in the birds’ behaviour was observed, which certified that they were now feeding their chick. 'Deva', a 10-year-old hen reintroduced in the Peaks in 2010, and 'Casanova', a male of at least 13 years old, arrived on their own from the Pyrenees; they were the great hope of the project that has returned this endangered species to Picos.
Likewise, in the Zaragoza Centre for Breeding in Human Isolation (CRIAH) three bearded vulture chicks have been born, of the five rescued last January from various nests in the Aragonese Pyrenees and Pyrenean foothills.
One of the chicks was born in a reproduction – after accumulating thirteen years of reproductive failures by its parents - thanks to the specialists in assisted breeding of bearded vultures of the F.C.Q. Foundation for Conservation of the Lammergeier (or Bearded Vulture) and with the help of the rescues of the mountain specialist Nature Protection Agents of the Government of Aragon.
The individualized assisted brooding technique is making it possible to save the lives of embryos and even new-born bearded vultures from nests in hazardous situations located in the Central Pyrenees (many of them with double oviposition). 100 % of the live rescued eggs hatch successfully; thus, the same result is expected of the two unhatched eggs. The individuals are bred in human isolation prior to being released in the natural environment, where 82% survive their first and most difficult year of life.
Created in 1995, it is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion and development of conservation projects in the mountain habitats where the Lammergeier lives. The F.C.Q. has its headquarters in Zaragoza but has also a strong presence in the Eco Museum-Visitors Center of the Ainsa Castle (Huesca) and the Center for Biodiversity and Sustainable Development “Las Montañas del Quebrantahuesos” in Benia de Onís (Asturias). Furthermore, it is present in the el Breeding Centre for the Lammergeier in Human Isolation (CRIAH) in La Alfranca (Zaragoza) and the Biological Station Monte Perdido (EBMP) in Revilla (Huesca) managed together with the Dutch non-profit organisation LammerGier Fonds (LGF).
Sources: Fundación para la Conservación del Quebrantahuesos. El Comercio de Asturias and Government of Aragon.
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