Who said that the black vultures live only in the mountains, far away from people? Our long work on those rare and significantly beautiful vultures confirms, every time we have the chance to observe them, that despite the fact that the black vultures are usually lonely birds, they can suddenly appear in residential areas near big cities, mainly as an attempt to find food.
What’s kept us busy in making the Rhodope Mountains a wilder place
As part of an ongoing reintroduction of red and fallow deer in the area, the animals will change habitats through grazing and provide an important prey base for local carnivores and scavengers.
Nature-related tourism training helps more than 30 participants in the Eastern Rhodopes. Last week more than 30 participants took part in a second nature and vulture-related tourism development training session in the Eastern Rhodopes, organised by Rewilding Rhodopes and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds.
An adult black vulture was found dead due to collision against electric line, in mid-February, reported WWF Greece. The bird was found in Filiouri valley, study area of Life project, after a prompt call of the forest guard from the Sapes Forest Service.
In early February further progress was made in the rewilding of the Rhodopes area in Bulgaria. The Rewilding Rhodopes team released nine red deer in the nature reserve of Studen Kladenets, and a group of fallow deer near Tintiava, in the Eastern Rhodopes.
Aiding restoration efforts in the Rhodope rewilding area, satellite transmitters are now being used to provide valuable scientific information about the ecology and biology of fallow deer.
Waterfowl count on Bulgaria’s Arda River reveals some special visitors. On the weekend of 14–15 January, more than 7,000 birds of 32 different species were recorded at the annual mid-winter waterfowl census on the Arda River in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains. Experts and volunteers from Rewilding Rhodopes and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds observed some species that are rarely seen in the region.
The number of griffon vultures in the Eastern Rhodopes continues to grow, shows the annual census of griffon vultures on the Balkan Peninsula. This year, 184 griffon vultures were counted along Arda River in Rhodope Mountains rewilding area, home of the largest colony of griffon vultures in Bulgaria. Last year there were 178 griffon vultures registered. This year number is the highest registered during the annual roost count in the Eastern Rhodopes since 2005.
November was filled with a diverse range of events, lectures, workshops, and activities related to the protection of vulture species in Europe and worldwide. Experts from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) took аn active part in most of them and presented some of the results and activities from the project “Conservation of black and griffon vultures in the Rhodope mountains”.
During the last few weeks, 11 black vultures were equipped with satellite transmitters in Dadia National Park, in the Greek part of the Rhodope Mountains. These transmitters will provide important scientific data about the distribution, movements and possible threats, which will further help identify future conservation actions for the species in this region. These actions are part of the LIFE Vultures project.