Baby Californian condor on webcam


This video from the USA says about itself:

19 November 2014

Part I: Here They Soared
The history, decline, and recovery of the California Condor in North America.

Part II: The Recovery Begins
A look at the current efforts being undertaken by the Oregon Zoo—in conjunction with Zoo Partners—in the ongoing efforts at Condor recovery.

Part III: The Road Ahead
A look at the ongoing challenges facing condors in the wild…and the steps that everyone can take to minimize the risks to wild condors.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Watch Live As A Wild Condor Grows Up

For the first time, people who tuned in to the Lab’s live California Condor cam on the morning of April 4 got to see a condor chick hatch! The 22-year-old female condor, #111, and her 7-year-old mate, #509, are raising the chick hatched from a captive-bred egg produced by the California Condor Recovery Program. The pair’s own egg disappeared in March, most likely taken by a predator. The nest cave is located at the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County, California.

Live Chat About The Condors

Visit the cam page to ask questions about the birds during a live online video chat with condor biologists on April 14, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time/1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

More Species, More Bird Cams To Enjoy

Check out the action on our other live cams: the Red-tailed Hawks and Barn Owls are incubating eggs, three Barred Owl chicks have just hatched, and the Great Horned Owl chicks are getting big. Watch for our live hummingbird cam coming online soon!

Egyptian vultures discovered in Morocco


This video says about itself:

11 December 2015

The communal roost of Egyptian Vultures (Neophron percnopterus) found in the Middle Atlas, Morocco. For more details see here and here.

This video says about itself:

Communal roost of the Egyptian Vultures (Neophron percnopterus) found in Morocco in June 2014.

The roost hosted 40 vultures of different ages, and the birds were roosting in small groups consisting of 3-12 individuals each. This video shows only one part of the roost.a group of 6 vultures.

The recording was made from a great distance using a coupler with a telescope (by Rachid El Khamlichi).

See also here.

California condor that helped save species back in the wild


This March 2013 video from the USA says about itself:

Condor Chick Feeding at San Diego Zoo (VNR) … Wesa hatched to parents AC-4 and Mexwe.

From Associated Press in the USA:

California condor that helped save species returns to wild

By ELLEN KNICKMEYER

Dec. 31, 2015 4:40 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Banking into the wind and then gliding out of sight, a male California condor flew back into the wild after a captive breeding program that helped save North America’s largest species of land bird.

The 35-year-old bird named AC-4 soared out of his open pen earlier this week at a canyon rim inside the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge, in central California’s Kern County. He had been one of just 23 condors left in the world in the 1980s.

It was the bird’s first free flight since 1985, when a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service team captured him near the same spot. It was part of a last-ditch attempt to stop the extinction of the California condor, which has a wing span of more than 9 feet.

AC-4 needed only a few minutes to get his bearings before flying out of the pen and over the canyon, said Joseph Brandt, a lead condor biologist with the wildlife service. Brandt was sitting on a hilltop nearby to watch the release.

“He kind of flew right past us. It was really incredible,” Brandt said by telephone Thursday.

Lead poisoning is believed one of the main factors that drove California condors toward extinction. The birds ingest fragments of lead bullets when they feed on carcasses of animals shot by hunters.

California lawmakers voted in 2013 to phase out lead bullets for hunting by 2019.

Biologists believe AC-4 was 5 to 7 years old when they captured him for the captive breeding program. He fathered the first chick born in the program, giving the program’s founders greater hope they could save the species.

In all, AC-4 sired 30 condor chicks that have been successfully released into the wild.

“Many people have poured their heart and soul” into saving the condors, Jesse Grantham, a former condor program coordinator and part of the original team that captured AC-4, said in a statement from the wildlife service.

This year, biologists recorded 19 wild condor nests in central and Southern California, more nests than at any point this century, Brandt said.

Condors can live up to 60 years in the wild and mate for life, Brandt said. Biologists hope AC-4, which they have tagged for tracking, will pick a mate before the courting season ends this winter, he said.

Save African vultures


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.

Vultures are misunderstood. They are the bringers of life, not the takers. They are the cleaners of your world.

Vultures are the halters of disease – stopping the spread of anthrax, botulism, rabies and tuberculosis.

Vultures are the sentinels of your skies – they point the way for rangers to find poachers.

For centuries, vultures were revered for they are vital.

But now, vultures are persecuted. They are being poisoned, hunted and exploited.

Vultures are disappearing because they are misunderstood.

Some vulture populations have declined by 98%.

In 2015, BirdLife International declared four African vulture species to be on the edge of extinction.

You are the most powerful species on this planet – use your power to change, use your power to act.

To act now, visit here.

West African Ambassadors endorse BirdLife’s Vulture Campaign: here.

African vulture pilot study aims to reduce poisoning deaths: here.

Pyrenean bearded vultures, new study


This video is about adult and (mainly) bearded vultures in Spain, between griffon vultures and ravens.

From Raptor Politics:

Removal of eggs or chicks has considerable impact in the Pyrenean population of bearded vultures – new paper

A new paper published recently (see below) suggests that the removal of eggs, chicks or fledglings will have a detrimental effect on the population trend of the bearded vulture in the Pyrenees over the next 30 years, in most modelled scenarios.

The removal of eggs or chicks from wild populations to create captive populations, reinforce free-ranging populations or reintroduce species into the wild is a restoration tool that is often used, including with bearded vultures in the Pyrenees (eggs collected for reintroduction in Picos de Europa). However, it is necessary to assess objectively potential detrimental effects upon the donor population.

Margalida et al. modelled the population under different demographic and management scenarios (removal of eggs, chicks or fledglings) and obtained a population decline in 77% of all 57 scenarios analysed. The study also shows that the effects of extractions will not be detectable until more than nine years after the initiation of such interventions.

Based on this, the authors question if extractions for future reintroductions should be envisioned. In particular egg extraction bears a great risk of failure due to the low hatching success observed today in the wild (25–45%). Alternative, less risky management options would be the collection of only the second, freshly-born chick from double clutches (given that in this species siblicide is the rule) and the release from captive stock – the method used by the VCF in our reintroduction projects.

The bearded vulture population in the Pyrenees has most likely reached saturation, as inferred from productivity trend (significantly down), changes in mating system (recent increase in the proportion of trios), as well as in the distance between neighbouring nests that declined by > 20% between 1992 and 2002.

Adult mortality – the demographic variable with most impact on population growth in this species – has been steadily increasing over the recent years in the Pyrenean population, and demographic forecasts, including the present study, predict a negative trend and its near-extinction over the next 50 years if non-natural mortality (i.e. illegal poisoning) continues unabated.

The age at first breeding has also been increasing in the Pyrenean population, passing from 8 years during the period 1987–2006 to 10 years presently – most likely the outcome of density-dependent regulation.

The VCF defends that in order to reverse this tends, it will be necessary to stop artificial feeding in the core population area, while targeted supplementary feeding at the limits of the current Pyrenean distribution range should be promoted to boost dispersal and future settlement into neighbouring mountain ranges – this is indeed the objectives of the LIGE GYPCONNECT we are now starting – seehere.

You can download the paper below.

Cinereous vulture in Macedonia, after ten years


This video, from Azerbaijan, Turianchai reserve, June 24, 2013 is called Cinereous Vulture. Battle.

From the Vulture Conservation Foundation:

Black (cinereous) vulture seen in Macedonia – first observation in the last 10 years

A second or third year black vulture was seen (Friday 30.10.15) at a vulture supplementary feeding station in Vitachevo, together with 28 griffon vultures.

Black vultures became extinct in the Balkans throughout the 20th century, except for one isolated breeding population that remained in Dadia Forest in NE Greece, and that totals about 30 pairs.

Black vulture populations in Spain – their European stronghold – have been increasing (now totals more than 2000 pairs). The reintroduced population in France is also well established and includes now more than 35 pairs, so the number of black vultures seen in Central Europe, notably around the Alps, has been increasing in recent years.

Vitacheco is about 350km from Dadia, as the crow flies. This bird could have originated there, but a western European origin cannot also be dismissed.

The Vulture Conservation Foundation together with a number of partners, including the Bulgarian NGO Green Balkans, are now starting a project to reintroduce black vultures to the Central Balkan mountains in Bulgaria (LIFE+ Vultures Return Back to LIFE). The project is now starting, but first releases of black vultures will only happen in 2018.

This observation is good news, and creates a lot of expectations that in the not so distant future this species could eventually be re-established around the Balkans. With adequate vulture conservation measures taking now place in several countries in the region, and with a coordinated effort to control poisoning – vultures main threat -, we hope that the silhouette of black vultures becomes soon a more familiar sight in the Balkan skyline.

This article was published by the Vulture Conservation Foundation in Oct 2015

Vultures’ autumn migration from Spain to Morocco


This is a Rüppell’s vulture video from Africa.

From Moroccan Birds blog, with photos there:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

More than 400 Griffon Vultures and 1 Rüppell’s Vulture migrating at Jbel Moussa

More than 400 Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) crossed today the Strait of Gibraltar at Jbel Moussa and Punta Cires (Dalia). They were first detected circling and gaining altitude near Algarrobo (between Tarifa and Algeciras in Spain) by telescope at 10H50min. The first group started to cross at 11h22min and started to arrive to Morocco at 11h56min (with slight westerly winds). They were four groups of 238, 83, 18 and 70 vultures.

In late afternoon we met Jose Antonio Barba Ramos who visited us from Murcia, and he told us that he observed about 300 vultures at Cazalla near Tarifa of which a group of about 100 were about to cross the Strait at 15h00min (Moroccan time).

One Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) also crossed with the griffons but was not seen in the field but was detected when Rachid El Khamlichi was processing the photographs.

A week ago, more than 3500 Griffon Vultures were recorded at Jbel Moussa after crossing the Strait of Gibraltar.

Veterinary drug could cause major drop in vulture numbers in Spain, new study confirms: here.