Dear mr. Max Muster!

The year 2012 has been another good year for the reintroduction project of the Bearded Vulture in the Alps:
This year 22 mature pairs have been monitored. And 10 chicks have fledged successfully between 26th of June and 3rd of August. Two new pairs have started their first breeding attempt, but failed this year. Lets hope that they will be successful in the upcoming season! And there might be some more new couples in different regions of the Alps.
We want to thank you for your cooperation and help in the past year and send you our best wishes for Christmas and the New Year 2013!

Sincere regards
Andreas Schwarzenberger and Richard Zink

This year 2 young female birds, both born in the breeding centre Guadalentín (Spain), have been released in the Fleißtal near Heiligenblut in the Carinthian part of the National Park Hohe Tauern. Inge, the younger one, stayed most of the time in the vicinity of the release site. At the moment its position is close to Spittal an der Drau, about 50 km distance from Heiligenblut.
Glocknerlady has stayed in the release area until end of September, but then the bird started a journey to the East (almost to Graz) and then to the South into Slovenia. In the area of Celje it stayed for several days in a forested area where it could be found and captured by national Ornithologists. The bird was wet and exhausted and could not fly anymore. Thanks to satellite telemetry the bird could be found right in time and then be brought to the RFZ breeding centre near Vienna for further examination and treatment. Read more on the story of Glocknerlady below.

The journey of BV718 Glocknerlady (star = release site, square = last observation)

For further information on the birds released in Austria have a look at the homepage of the National Park Hohe Tauern Hohe Tauern homepage.


In the Swiss Calfeisental two bearded vultures have been released on the 26th of May 2012. Gallus, nevertheless a female bird born in the breeding centre Haute Savoie, eventually had a favour for the Western Swiss region of Valais/Wallis and stayed there from August till the beginning of November. The last position of the bird is located in the area of Leukerbad on the 3rd of November. At the moment we don´t have any hints for the whereabouts of this bird. So please report every possible observation on the Swiss homepage.
In the meanwhile Bernd, a female born in Valcallent/Spain, has moved more to the South. At the beginning of November the bird visited the Nature Park Adamello-Brenta in Trentino. In November and December Bernd is flying around in the Province of Sondrio. At the moment it is located in the area of Chiavenna.
For the latest news of the Swiss birds click here here.
Photo: Bearded vulture Gallus in the Valais/Wallis © Dolf Roten

The two birds released in the Nature Park Alpi Marittime have not been equipped with satellite technology. Unfortunately we have received only very few data of these two birds! Please send your observation data to your local coordinators or to gyp-monitoring@aon.at, no matter if you think the bird is radio tagged or not!
Junior Ranger, a female born in Ostrava, has stayed in the area of the National Park Le Mercantour. The last observation that has been reported is concerning the 11th of October.
Il Malizia, a female also born in Ostrava, used to stay in the border area between France and Italy not far from its release site until October. On the 30th of October the bird was seen in the National Park Les Ecrins. The latest observation on the 30th of November was located in the National Park Le Mercantour again.

Again in the Vercors Nature Parc two birds have been released in 2012. Bellemotte, a female born in the Richard Faust Breeding Centre, is still around the release area up to now. The bird did not move further than 15 km from the release site.
Angèlo, a male born in the Tierpark Goldau (CH), has been more adventurous than its nest sibling. At the beginning of November the bird visited the area of the National Park Les Ecrins. Then it flew to the south-east and stays now east of Nyons (Départment Drôme). Find more information here.

First release in Grands Causses, F

The first release of bearded vultures in France outside the Alps took place in the Nature Park Grands Causses in 2012. This important step is meant to build a bridge between the two populations of the Alps and the Pyrenees. The area of Grands Causses is highly suitable for bearded vultures, and the young birds show this by staying around the release area up to now.
Basalte, a male born in the Tierpark Friedrichsfelde Berlin, and Cardabelle, a female born in Guadalentín/Spain, are doing well and explore their new territory step by step. Unfortunately a third bird (Meijo, born in Ostrava Zoo) died before fledging most probably because of a disease.
For further information on the movements of the young bearded vultures have a look at the LPO-website.
Picture: Basalte in the Grands Causses Nature Park on the 6th of December ©LPO Grands Causses

On the 10th and 11th of November the Annual Meeting of the Vulture Conservation Foundation VCF was taking place in Brunnen in Central Switzerland, not far from the Calfeisental, the Swiss release site. Again experts from many European countries met to have an important exchange of knowledge and experiences in vulture conservation.

Picture: ©SPB/VCF
Beside many interesting reports on the releases and the reproduction monitoring in the Alps there were some important statements on the situation of Vulture populations on Corsica, in the Pyrenees, in the Balkan Mountains and in Marocco. The situation is still very difficult in these regions, but not without hope. Genetic considerations in reintroduction and restoration programs have been discussed, especially the matter of inbreeding, whether there are disadvantages or not or even advantages for the reproductive success of a (part of the) population.
Again this year the diversity of threats for vultures was an important topic. The reasons of mortality in Bearded Vultures in the Alps have been discussed as well as specific threats like Wind farms, poisoning and lead contamination, but also the risks of Wildlife feeding for Bearded Vultures.
The presentation of the IBM Administration you can find here.
Many thanks to the Swiss team for the wonderful hosting and the perfect organisation of the meeting!

A report on the International Observation Days IOD 2012 is coming up shortly. So far we can say the IOD of this year was one of the most successful ones up to now. Thanks to the almost perfect weather conditions all over the Alps almost all observers have been out on their posts on the core date (6th of October) to make sure that they don´t miss any bearded vulture flying around. In total more than 500 (!) observers occupied 450 observation posts throughout the Alps, including 3 posts in the Ardeche region and 2 posts in the Grands Causses Nature Park in the South of France. Between the 5th and the 7th of October a total of 276 observations of bearded vultures have been made. More than half of the observations have concerned adult birds. Out of these we have estimated a number of approximately 120 different birds. This is approximately 2/3 of the estimated population in the Alps.

Picture: Unidentified adult bearded vulture in the Alpi Marittime on the 6th of October. © Alessandro Risso

Please have a look for the Report on the International Observation Days IOD 2012 on our website www.gyp-monitoring.com. The report will be out at the beginning of January.

Many thanks to all the observers and the local coordinators for their excellent work!

Lead poisoning in two young bearded vultures proved this year!
In the last newsletter we have already reported about the recapture of Lousa. The female has been released in the Nature Park Vercors in France in 2010. On the 1st of October it has been found in a very weak condition on a forest road in Vorarlberg in the West of Austria. The lead levels in the blood were already decreasing and were below toxic level. After a therapy the bird was recovering again. Eventually its sense of balance has been affected and so Lousa has to stay in captivity. Hopefully it will breed and contribute this way to the project.

Picture: Glocknerlady on the way from Slovenia to the Richard Faust Centre in Austria. © Michael Knollseisen

Many thanks to the Slovenian and Austrian teams for the excellent rescue action!
Only one month later the telemetry data of Glocknerlady (released in the National Park Hohe Tauern in 2012) showed a strange pattern. The female went all the way down to Slovenia and stayed in a forested area for several days. Finally Slovenian ornithologists were able to find and capture the bird. Being wet and weak Glocknerlady was brought to Austria for detailed examinations. The young female was suffering from acute lead poisoning. Treatment was started immediately and was successful. Glocknerlady is in a good condition now and it should be possible to release her again in spring time.
Most probably the bird has fed on carcasses that were shot with lead ammunition. The discussion about lead free ammunition has already started some time ago. These two cases of lead poisoning should give some more argument for the need to change the situation!

New numbers of local newsletters
“Newsletter – pour des pyrenees vivantes”: The latest edition of the LPO newsletter for the Pyrenees´action No7 is out now. For further information on the situation of Bearded vultures and other raptors in the French Pyrenees have a look on the homepage and download the Newsletter.

“Bearded vultures on the move”: The latest newsletter for December 2012 has been sent out last week! It provides information about the birds released in Calfeisen (Switzerland). Sign up here for the newsletter.

“Infogipeto”: The 29th number of this complete Italian magazine that covers the yearly events surrounding the re-introduction project in the Alps will be released soon. In this number there is information about the birds released in 2012, monitoring throughout the Alpine range and the results of the network of captive-breeding; furthermore, there is also information about the situation of other vulture species in the Alps. Have a look for the upcoming magazine here

The next breeding season has already started. Most of the pairs have chosen a nest and have already prepared it for the breeding. In the Alps bearded vultures will lay the first eggs in a few weeks. In captivity there are already some clutches. Pairs in the Zoo of Liberec, in the breeding centre of Haute Savoie and the Richard Faust Centre in Haringsee have started to incubate. Lets hope that the upcoming season will be a very successful one again!

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