Volunteers needed to count Europe’s rarest vulture on International Observation Day Saturday 6 October

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The International Observation Days (IOD) for bearded vultures have started in 2006 and consist in a one-day simultaneous count of bearded vultures across the whole Alpine arc, organised by the International Bearded Vulture Monitoring network (IBM), which is coordinated by the VCF. Since 2012 bearded vultures are also counted in the Massif Central in France, in Aude in the French Pyrenes and since 2017 the IOD have also expanded to Andalusia, Spain.

This count allows for a thorough monitoring of the bearded vulture population status and distribution in the Alps. Furthermore, the count produces many sightings of identifiable birds, thus generating baseline data for survival analyses and demographic modelling. Besides the valuable information about the dynamics of the reintroduced population, the IODs also play an important role in creating public awareness for the project.

Over the years this event, which takes place during the first fortnight of October, has become an important date for ornithologist and bird-watchers, who are fascinated by this large bird species. The number of volunteer observers has been growing every year – last year we had over 920 participants, that logged in almost 530 bearded vulture observations.

Crossing the observation data with expert knowledge about the presence of territorial and tagged birds, last year we estimated the bearded vulture population size in the Alps to be between 208 and 251 birds. For the Massif Central we counted 6 birds, 5 in Aude and between 22 and 33 in Andalusia.

Among the observed birds last year 12% were identified as juveniles, 15% as immature, 4% as subadult and 59% as adult birds. Furthermore, it was possible to identify individually 70 bearded vultures, thus providing us valuable information on their life history.

This year´s count is on the 6th October 2018.  All over the Alps, the Massif Central, the department Aude and Andalusia, people will spend the day in the mountain and keep an eye on the bearded vultures and count them! Please contact the regional coordinators below if you are interested in participating or contact us for any other question:

Austria – ferdinand.lainer@salzburg.gv.at

France – Haute-Savoie: etienne.marle@asters.asso.fr

France – Mercantour: monique.perfus@mercantour-parcnational.fr

France – Vanoise: jerome.cavailhes@vanoise-parcnational.fr

France – Écrins: christian.couloumy@gmail.com

France – Grands Causses: lea.giraud@lpo.fr

France – Vercors: benoit.betton@pnr-vercors.fr

France – Les Baronnies: gypaete@vautoursenbaronnies.com

France – Aude: yves.roullaud.aude@lpo.fr

Italy – Stelvio: enrico.bassi76@gmail.com

Italy – Aosta: c.chioso@regione.vda.it

Italy – Alpi Marittime: fabiano.sartirana@parcoalpimarittime.it

Spain – Andalusia: prodriguez@gypaetus.org

Switzerland: franziska.loercher@swild.ch

The IBM is partially funded by their partners, and by funding contributions from the EU LIFE Fund through the LIFE GypConnect and LIFE GypHelp, as well as the MAVA foundation.

Article Source: Vulture Conservation Foundation