The Bearded Vulture Day 2:
in french, gypaéte, is one intense bird.
It is the only bird known to decorate itself: it dyes its feathers blood red, giving it the reputation of one of the most metal birds in the animal kingdom.
Bearded vultures come in various shades, from pure white to orange-red. Soils stained with iron oxide give the birds their fiery appearance. Gypaéte apply the dirt with their claws and then preen for about an hour to ensure a bright orange glow.
Bearded Vultures are most commonly monogamous, and breed once a year. Sometimes, especially in certain areas of Spain and France, bachelor gypaéte will join a pre-existing couple to create a polyandrous trio. Females accept secondary mates because it increases the chances of producing offspring and doubles her protection. The birds usually don’t lay more than three eggs, so they can use all the help they can get.
These giant birds can grow up to 4 feet tall. They have a wingspan between 7 and 9 feet (2,1-2.7m) and usually weigh around 10 to 15 pounds (4.5-6.8kg).
In captivity, bearded vultures live to the ripe old age of 45. The average lifespan of a wild vulture is only 21.4 years, but that factors in the untimely deaths that come with the dangers of the wild.
Believing that the vultures would carry off babies, concerned parents hunted the birds to the brink of extinction. The vultures were completely eradicated from most areas in Eastern Europe by the 1990s.
ASTERS (Conservatoire d´Espaces Naturels de Haute-Savoie) is organising on the 20thFebruary a simultaneous monitoring day, from 10:00 to 14:00, from safe points near all the nests. In this count all the pairs will be controlled, including their breeding status, and movements of the adults. If you live in the area and would like to help, please contact Etienne Marlé (firstname.lastname@example.org) until the 17th February.
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and enjoy your Sunday!
Some local info from our friends Man and Wolf Beer…
We’re super lucky to live in a beautiful environment that supports indigenous species to this area. Exquisite photos!