Young California condor prepares for flying

This video from California in the USA says about itself:

Active Condor Chick Flaps Wings and Nibbles Plant – July 6, 2017

Watch the Devil’s Gate condor chick exercise its wings atop a rock and nibble on the stem of a nearby plant. As chicks gets older, they spend more time exercising. Watch for more wing flapping, leaping about, and capturing and carrying away objects found around the nest.

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The California Condor cam is a collaboration between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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About the Nest

This condor nest, known as the Devil’s Gate nest, is located in the Los Padres National Forest, near Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. The parents of the chick in the Devil’s Gate nest are mom #513 and dad #206. Dad #206 hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo in 1999 and mom #513 hatched at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise Idaho in 2009. This is their third nesting attempt together but they have yet to successfully fledge a chick.

California condor chick growing up

This video from California in the USA says about itself:

Condor Chick Goes “Wings Out” on a Sunny Morning in Devils Gate – Jun 27, 2017

The California Condor cam is a collaboration between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Devil’s Gate Condor Chick Growing Up

Now approaching 80 days old, the Devil’s Gate chick on the California Condor cam is growing up fast. Its juvenile plumage is starting to surface from under a cover of gray down. Soon the chick will be outfitted with a set of uniformly blackish feathers, tipped with hints of brown, white, and pale gray. The chick’s head is also changing from a fleshy pink to slate gray coloration that’s typical of a juvenile.

The condor chick’s physical appearance isn’t the only thing that’s changing. As chicks gets older, they spend more time exercising. Watch for more wing flapping, leaping about, and capturing and carrying away objects found around the nest. Older chicks also exhibit mock prey-capture behavior with their feet, stabbing out to clamp objects to the substrate without gripping them. The presence of this behavior in chicks, but not adults, suggests that the ancestors of condors may have had at least partially predatory habits.

Bearded vulture on Texel island

This 26 May 2017 video from Dutch nature reserve Solleveld shows the young male bearded vulture Lucky from the High Tauern mountains in Austria, which had flown to the Netherlands.

According to Dutch Vroege Vogels TV, in the last week of May 2017 Lucky flew over the Netherlands, including spending time on Texel island.

Christopher Sands explains why vultures are so misunderstood. This article is the editorial of the June edition of the BirdLife Europe & Central Asia newsletter. Read it here in full.

Young griffon vulture grows up

This 31 May 2017 from Artis zoo in Amsterdam, the Netherlands says about itself (translated):

In the vulture aviary an egg has been brooded by a vulture couple. These two vultures came together with three other griffon vultures in 2010 from a Spanish animal shelter to ARTIS. Because griffon vultures are scavengers and legislation often prohibits leaving dead animals in the wild, they regularly eat roadkill, traffic casualties, at the risk of being victims of an accident. They also often collide with power lines.

Because of their injuries, the two animals could no longer be freed into the wild: they were no longer able to fly. Therefore, a good place for them had to be found. In ARTIS, the couple has recovered remarkably and has learned to fly again. It’s the first time that the traffic victims have a chick. The birth of the chick is good news for the European Stud Book of the griffon vulture, in which ARTIS participates. ARTIS is investigating the possibility of freeing the two chicks into the wild.

This video is about the heterosexual injured couple, originally from Spain. At the same time in the same Artis vulture compound, a same-sex male ‘gay’ griffon vulture couple is raising a youngster as well.

California condor feeds its chick

This video from California in the USA says about itself:

Male [California] Condor #206 Feeds His Chick at Devil’s Gate– May 30, 2017

Watch the male condor feed his chick at the Devil’s Gate nest. Adult condors feed their young by regurgitating carrion that they scavenge from land and marine mammals such as deer, cattle, pigs, rabbits, sea lions, and whales.

‘Gay’ vultures raise young bird

The young griffon vulture, raised by a same sex couple in Artis

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

A first in Artis: gay griffon vultures raise young one

Today, 14:26

For the first time a couple of male griffon vultures in Artis take care of a chick, the Amsterdam zoo reports. The egg from which the chick hatched was found loose on the bottom of the aviary.

Caregivers placed it in the incubator, but then saw how the male couple built a nest on the rock in the vulture compound. It was then decided to put the vulture egg into the nest, where it was then brooded by the males taking turns until it hatched.

Five years ago

Meanwhile, the two fathers take good care of the chick, Artis reports. Five years ago a young griffon vulture was born in the zoo. This year, two chicks were added: the one who was brooded by the gay couple and a chick of two [heterosexual] birds injured in Spain and brought to Artis for convalescence.

The male couple has been together for years in Artis. Homosexuality is not unusual in the animal world and certainly not in birds. A vulture couple always stays together.

Artis is going to investigate whether the two young birds can be freed later into the wild. The zoo participates in the European breeding program for griffon vultures.

This Dutch video says about itself:

This Griffon Vulture with ring number RO4 was ringed in Spain in January 2015 and was seen in the Dennen woodland on Texel [island] on August 1, 2015. On May 20, 2016, this same bird appeared on Texel, at exactly in the same place.

Local buzzards tried to drive the vulture away. A carrion crow even landed on the vulture’s back, as the video shows.

Maltreated Moroccan vulture’s recovery

This video from Spain is called Effortless flight of griffon vultures.

From BirdLife:

2 May 2017

Freed from abuse, maltreated bird flourishes in Morocco

By Blandine Mélis and Jude Fuhnwi

A griffon vulture that was captured and mistreated by a group of young people in F’nideq, a town in northern Morocco, has reunited with other birds in the wild and [is] thriving. The captive vulture was freed following the timely intervention of BirdLife International’s partner in Morocco, and is currently being monitored closely by conservationists of the organisation’s office in the area.

The bird, identified as M13 was first discovered alongside four other depleted fawn vultures in the Jbel Moussa area by officers from the country’s High Commission for Water, Forests and the fight against Desertification. Popular for its strategic location south of the Strait of Gibraltar, Jbel Moussa is found on the route of migrating birds flying in from the Iberian Peninsula to sub-Saharan Africa. This key biodiversity area is being monitored regularly by workers of BirdLife International’s Partner in Morocco, the Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc (GREPOM).

The five fatigued griffon vultures were immediately taken to the Rabat zoological park, where they were treated. These birds were later tagged with wing marks and transmitters placed on them in order to use a radio receiver and antenna to monitor them. As part of the 2017 world wetlands day events, the birds were released into their natural environment on 07 February, at the Jbel site where they were first found.

One of the adults, a male, that was tagged M13 eventually flew into the F’nideq urban area in search of food, but was captured and mistreated by a group of unidentified young people near the city on 11 February. Images showing the poor treatment of this bird went viral in the media nationwide. Field workers from GREPOM with assistance from state agents in the city of Tétouan immediately intervened through a rescue operation and recovered the bird.

“The M13 vulture incident created an outcry in Morocco and efforts by GREPOM to save it attracted the interest of diverse media. Through the wide media coverage, we reached out to a large proportion of the public, including people who did not care about environmental issues before. It had a direct impact on public opinion and people were educated about the importance of conserving birds, which is a key focus of our strategy,” said Adil Boulahia, Communication officer at GREPOM.

The King’s Attorney General opened an investigation to determine the circumstances under which the bird was captured and to identify those responsible for the act. This incident triggered debates at national level on the issue of wildlife abuse, and mobilized civil society groups active in bird and biodiversity conservation. Many people became aware of the laws relating to the conservation of birds, and there was also a remarkable mobilization of local authorities for the cause.

“It was a starting point towards a long-term change in harmful behaviour towards birds. It also prepared the ground for GREPOM to raise awareness through campaigns and develop large scale conservation programmes, as the public is more receptive to the cause and more familiar with GREPOM and the work that we do in this area,” added Adil.

One month after the M13 vulture was freed, experts say the bird has regained strength and has been sighted often with his brother, M14.

“I last saw M14 on 20th March heading north with a group of other vultures. Of the five vultures released, at least two of them can be sighted above the mountain. Until April 25th, they were spotted among a hundred other wild vultures flying high and their marks were illegible,” explained Rachid El Khamlichi, Monitoring Coordinator of GREPOM’s northern unit.

With this achievement, GREPOM looks forward to funding opportunities that can provide donations for the monitoring of vultures, in order to support the success of this project.

Moroccan authorities are working closely with GREPOM and other partners to conserve the species in the area and effectively coordinate the protection, rehabilitation and monitoring of vultures.

For many years now, GREPOM has been collecting observation data on the behaviour and adaptation of birds, and has continued to raise awareness and educate local populations on bird conservation issues. This has achieved positive results towards convincing locals that vultures are important birds that provide numerous services to humans and the ecosystem. In 2016, more than twenty young people showed their commitment to protect vultures and participated in setting up a feeding site for the birds.