First cinereous vulture chick ringed in Bulgaria

After more than fifty years a cinereous vulture chick was born in the Balkan Mountains this spring. At the end of July, our Bulgarian partners ventured up to the nest and successfully ringed the young chick.

An ornithologist rings Black Vulture in Bulgaria

Mitchiev-Boev doesn't look too happy about being taken out of the nest for ringing.

© Hristo Peshev/FWFF, LIFE14NAT/BG/649
An ornithologist rings Black Vulture in Bulgaria

FWFF's Hristo Peshev with the first Cinereous Vulture offspring in the Balkan Mountains in 60 years.

© Hristo Peshev/FWFF, LIFE14NAT/BG/649

Cinereous vulture chicks are being born in the wild once again in the mountains of the Balkans. This wonderful news is the first highlight in the LIFE project started in 2018 to release these huge birds of prey back into the wild across the heights of the Balkans. For 60 years cinereous vultures were extinct in the region. The birth of chick Mitchiev-Boev (named after two pioneering Bulgarian vulture conservationists) is a milestone for species conservation in southern Europe.

When three pairs of vultures showed signs of courtship display and nest building in early spring, the conservationists and ornithologists on the spot were only cautiously optimistic. Having only been released the previous summer, the birds seemed too inexperienced for breeding to be successful first time around. Nonetheless one pair surprised all the conservationists by successfully rearing a chick.

78 days after its birth, our partners from FWFF took the young bird out of the nest to ring and measure it. Mitchiev-Boev weighed in at a respectable 5.6 kg. The chick will continue to be fed in the nest by its parents for a few more days before setting off on its first attempts to fly and explore its immediate surroundings. Its survival depends amongst other things on whether there is sufficient food for the scavengers and whether dangers presented by man, such as overhead power lines and poisoned bait, can be minimised.

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