Successful end of the first nest guarding of Egyptian vulture nest in Bulgaria [ 2009-09-23 06:13:12 ]


In 2009 for the first time in Bulgaria was done full everyday nest guarding of a highly endangered from human disturbance nest of Egyptian vulture in Northeast Bulgaria. The activity was done in Natura 2000 site “Provadiya-Royak Plateau” and lasted for 122 days, from 22.05 to 20.09.2009. The nest guarding was implemented by BSPB and Tourist and Nature-conservation Society “Orlovi skali”.

Reason for the start of the activity was an improperly planned and executed project for development of the ecotourism, funded by PHARE program. Under this project was built bridge for visiting of an ancient cliff monastery, which is a traditional nest site of pair of Egyptian vultures. On 24.05 BSPB team found out that the birds are incubating and immediately the nest guarding was started. Consequently after a signal submitted by BSPB and with a decision of the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters Varna, the tourist access to the cliff monastery was prohibited and the passing over the bridge blocked. In spite of the closed bridge the nest guarding continued, because the barrier can be surmounted by unconscientious people.

Around 1st of July the behavior of the birds changed indicating hatching, later one juvenile was observed growing and on 5.08 the chick was ringed and toxicology sampled. Finally on 19.09 the juvenile was observed flying, using both flapping and soaring flight, which is a sign of advanced flight abilities. On 22.09 the chick was observed again in the surroundings on the cliff, accompanied by the two adults.

The result of the nest guarding was significant: besides the fact that the pair succeeded in the incubation and the chick successfully fledged, for the whole period of the nest guarding from visiting the cliff monastery were redirected 326 tourist groups constituted from more than 740 people.

The guarded pair of Egyptian vultures was unique for Bulgaria and possibly for the Balkans with the fact that it made a record for latest date of laying, hatching and latest recorded date of fledging. When the juvenile was observed flying for the first time, most of the other juveniles fledged in 2009 were already along their migration ways to Africa.

Till the beginning of the next breeding season BSPB will put all necessary efforts for the regulated removal of the bridge, in order to allow safer and undisturbed breeding of the birds in the next year.

We express our gratitude and appreciation for the laid efforts and enthusiasm to the volunteers who guarded the nest: Milena Milanova, Petar Madzharov, Stefan Dolapchiev, Kiril Todorov, Zhivko Momchev, Tsvetomira Yotsova, Yordan Hristov. Thanks also to Stela Stankulova for the support during the organizing of the nest guarding from its very beginning.
The activity is funded by the Frankfurt Zoological Society and Vulture Conservation Foundation.