California Condor Chick Plays With Sticks


This video from the USA says about itself:

California Condor Chick Plays With Sticks

1 September 2016

The chick is still visiting the nesting cave for a nice chuck of time everyday. Nearing 5 months old, this “little” one should be about one month away from fledging.

Vulture Awareness Day today


This video says about itself:

Saving Nature’s Clean Up Crew – BirdLife’s Campaign to conserve African Vultures

13 October 2015

Most vultures are teetering on the brink of extinction across Africa. Considering the vital role they play in preventing the spread of life-threatening diseases, we must do everything we can to save these unsung heroes.

From BirdLife:

Which vulture species are you?

By Shaun Hurrell, 2 Sep 2016

Do you find yourself doing loads of work to help people without ever getting any credit? Maybe you have more in common with a vulture than you think. Vultures are greatly misunderstood birds. They may have a pretty bad reputation, but they are the ultimate unsung heroes, cleaning our environment and stopping the spread of disease! Sounds like you? Find out what endangered African vulture you are with our special quiz for Vulture Awareness Day!

Click here to take our Which Vulture Species Are You? quiz.

Raising awareness of the importance of vultures to our ecosystems is just one of the items on the menu at this year’s IUCN World Conservation Congress, which is currently underway in Hawai’i.

On Vulture Awareness Day, 3rd September, BirdLife is holding a special event at the Congress to highlight the plight these unlikely heroes face. Various vulture species are teetering on the edge of extinction across Africa, due mainly to threats from intentional and unintentional poisoning, persecution for their body parts (also involving the use of poison), as well as electrocution and collision with poorly-planned powerlines, windfarms and roads, habitat reduction, disturbance and food availability.

For more information, see our African Vulture infographics.

Show the anti-heroes some love by taking the quiz and sharing it with your friends, family and your nearest African governmental minister..!

Vultures are amazing birds, but they are often misunderstood. Learning just how unique these birds are can help you better appreciate their place in the world’s avifauna and how important their ongoing conservation is. How many of these vulture facts do you know? Here.

Griffon vulture video


This 5 August 2016 video shows a griffon vulture in the Murcia region in Spain.

Bearded vulture over Dutch Ameland, Schiermonnikoog islands


This video shows adult and young bearded vultures; and some griffon vultures and ravens, in Spain.

Dutch NOS TV reports that this afternoon, a young bearded vulture flew over Ameland and Schiermonnikoog islands. For some time, a buzzard flew along with the vulture, showing the big size difference.

This vulture has a transmitter, showing it is originally from central France. Bearded vultures are very rare in the Netherlands.

I have been to Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, but I never saw any bearded vulture there. Though I did see them in Aragon in Spain.

New wetland for birds on Ameland: here.

African governments against poisoning vultures


This 2015 video is a documentary about African vultures.

From BirdLife:

African governments commit to preventing poisoning of wildlife

By Shaun Hurrell, 3 June 2016

Moved by the plight of their continent’s endangered vultures and what this could mean for people, African Ministers gave their support to BirdLife’s vulture campaign last week in Nairobi at the UN Environment Assembly. This was further cemented by the approval of a new resolution on wildlife crime and trade that means African governments can now take action to prevent the poisoning of vultures.

It’s hard to think of a context in which you would use the word ‘poison’ without shuddering.

The thought of a murderous act, a tainted and corrupt ideology, or a toxic concoction itself – or even a malicious blend of all three – surely leaves no human feeling good.

But today we celebrate a use of the word in a positive context, which brings good news for Africa’s vultures…

Unfortunately the use of poison fuels African wildlife crime, and it is high-time action is taken. Thanks to a new strategy which the African Union, BirdLife and other partners helped developed, African governments can now take action to prevent the poisoning of vultures. Ministers have also given high-level support to vultures and BirdLife’s campaign to save them.

Africa has raised the stakes in dealing with wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade. A hugely symbolic ivory burning took place in Kenya earlier this year for example, and mounting pressure (predominately regarding elephant and rhinoceros trade) has led to a recent key commitment by African governments to step up the fight.

Last week they took one step further, by calling for international commitment too, including putting in place relevant policy legislation to tackle wildlife crime and trade at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, Kenya.

“It is abundantly clear that if we do nothing now, the health of our people in Africa could be at great risk,” said H.E. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union.

BirdLife has been working hard to highlight the plight of vultures and what this could mean for Africa – and awareness is rising considerably amongst governments – but international policy has yet to fully recognise that one poisoned elephant carcass can kill hundreds of Critically Endangered vultures too.

“We sometimes forget other species that play an equally important or greater role to maintaining our existence, but have as yet, not captured our imaginations and hearts,”

said Neville Ash, of UNEP.

BirdLife want governments to take action for vultures, for the benefit of natural ecosystems, human health and African economies. This is one of the reasons why a BirdLife team headed to UNEA.

“I really like vultures, they’re my favourite bird, but I haven’t seen them around for a while…”

said Hon. Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria.

Vultures have been poisoned and persecuted

Between 2012 and 2014, eleven known poaching-related incidents involving vulture poisoning were recorded in seven African countries in which 155 elephants and 2,044 vultures were killed. In one incident in Namibia in 2013, 500 vultures were found dead after feeding on the poisoned carcass of a poached elephant.

“We are losing large numbers of vultures due to poisoning, some of it related to poaching of elephants. Government support and multi-sectoral approach is of essence in dealing with this crisis,” said Darcy Ogada, IUCN Vulture Specialist Group, speaking at UNEA.

Worryingly, there is evidence that the use of poisons to kill elephants and rhinoceros in sub-Saharan Africa is increasing. An increasing threat for large mammals, but also catastrophic for Africa’s endangered vultures.

It’s not surprising either, given that agro-chemicals easily available from shops and markets all over Africa are being used for unintended purposes of killing wildlife. One is nicknamed “two-step” because a creature takes two steps before dying.

Vulture killings are intentional too:

“Vultures are the sentinels of the savannah”, says Kariuki Ndang’ang’a, Team Leader for Species, Science and Information Management for BirdLife International.

“By honing in on a carcass far, far away with incredible eyesight, vultures alert Park Rangers to a fresh poaching incident. “Unfortunately this is a major factor in the demise of vultures too.”

It turns out that impudent poachers deliberately lace poached carcasses with poison to stop vultures giving the game away.

In the last 30 years, 7 of Africa’s 11 vulture species have declined by well over 80% and are now facing extinction. Poisoning accounts for 61% of the threats, with persecution for their body parts to be used in traditional medicine accounting for 29% – however in many cases this also involves the use of poison too (and also poses a human health risk).

Frightening figures, and a moral and social imperative to save them. This is why BirdLife called on African governments at a special event at UNEA to act – but not only for vultures themselves, but for the benefit of human health and the African economy.

Vultures are nature’s clean-up crew. In their unique niche in the ecosystem, they clear away germ-laden carcasses thus preventing the spread of Anthrax, Tuberculosis, Botulism, Rabies and other related diseases. A single vulture is estimated to be worth over US $ 11,000 just for its cleaning services. But by halting the spread of disease, they are worth much, much more to governments in saved health service costs, not to mention tourism.

Speaking at BirdLife’s Healthy Vultures, Healthy People event, Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) said:

“The African vulture crisis needs to be tackled urgently at the highest political levels.”

UNEA represents the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, which culminates in resolutions and a global call to action to address the critical environmental challenges facing the world today.

“We are excited to announce some good news for vultures,”

says Ken Mwathe, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, BirdLife International.

“Governments have now agreed to implement an Action Plan for the African Strategy on Combating Illegal Exploitation and Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa. This means African governments can now take action to prevent the poisoning of vultures, by applying available poisoning guidelines.”

After all, strategies mean nothing unless they are implemented.

The Minister of Environment for Nigeria, committed without hesitation at BirdLife’s event:

“The plight facing vultures in Nigeria has been effectively highlighted. My government will work with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (BirdLife in Nigeria) on a strategy and take decisive action.”

Furthermore, the words of H.E Rhoda Peace Tumusiime at the event capture African governments’ renewed desire to honour regional and global commitments on illegal wildlife trade. She said:

“The African Union Commission will remain committed to supporting member states and other stakeholders in addressing illegal wildlife trade including addressing the plight of our vultures.”

Keep following developments in BirdLife’s Vulture Campaign by signing up to our newsletter. Also download our infographics and share!

Griffon vultures harassed by carrion crows, video


This 7 May 2016 video is about a rare visit of griffon vultures to the Netherlands. A vulture in a tree is harassed by carrion crows.

Luuk Punt made this video.

Swallows gather California condor feathers, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

Violet-green Swallows Gather California Condor Feathers, May 3, 2016

A pair of Violet-green Swallows visit the condor nest to gather feathers for their nest site. Watch the cam live here.

The condor cam is a collaboration between the Santa Barbara Zoo, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology writes about this:

Last week, a couple of these birds visited our Bird Cams California Condor nest to gather some feathers as the condor chick looked on—how neat to think that critically endangered condor feathers are doing double duty as nest lining.