Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna

The nesting season for Griffon Vultures in Kresna Gorge and Balkan Mountain has begun

February 2017

picture – FWFF

Kresna Gorge– one pair is laying, while other two are preparing their nests and are close to have their eggs in Kresna Gorge. These are all pairs of birds released in the Gorge. Three other pairs are of mixed origin – one partner native to Demir Kapia in Macedonia and one partner released in the Gorge. So the last three pairs are still in doubt, whether to start breeding on the excelent cliffs in Demir Kapia in Macedonia or close to the very good vulture “restaurant” in Kresna Gorge in Bulgaria. The Reintroduction of Griffon vulture has started in 2009 and became possible because of LIFE for Kresna Gorge LIFE 11 NAT/BG/ 363, from 2012 to 2016, and EU LIFE+ Program.

In 2016 the new Griffon vulture colony succeeded in breeding and got raised the number of vultures thus. Two birds have fledged.

picture- Georgi Stoyanov

Vrachanski Balkan- a total of four pairs were seen to construct nests or copulate on the cliffs in the northern parts of the Vrachasnki Balkan Nature Park. One of these females was seen often sitting in the nest, which is a good sign that we are soon to expect an egg. Three other pairs were only seen constructing nests. Several single birds were seen perching on very suitable potential nesting sites. The pairs observed were within a 3 km vertical rock cliff.

picture – Lachezar Bonchev/FWFF

Eastern Balkan Mountain– two pairs are laying in Kotel Mountain, one was formed last breeding season and the other is a new one. Our team is doing every day monitoring and suspects 6-7 more pairs are or going to breed recently. Unfortunately, the deep snow layer and tough winter 2016/2017 conditions prevents the access and good view point to the cliffs.

We would like to remind you that this is the third year since the return of Griffon Vulture as a nesting species in the Balkan Mnts. In 2015 the first baby Griffon Vulture successfully hatched and fledged in the area after over 60 years of absence of the species. In 2016 we already witnessed a total of 5 fledged chicks in the Eastern Balkan Mnts (Sliven/Kotel), 4 in Vrachanski Balkan and 2 in Kresna George/Pirin Mnts.

This is why the conservationalists claimed that the species has been successfully restored in the Balkan and the Pirin Mnts. The total number of breeding birds in these areas in 2016 were about 25 and together with the wild population of Griffon Vultures (in the Eastern Rhodopes), the national breeding population of the species reached 100 pairs, expanding its territory with 200 %.

We hope that this year will be even more successful for the Griffon Vultures to give us additional hope for the “Bright future of Black Vulture” LIFE 14 NAT/BG/649 – the new stage of our efforts towards the restoration of vultures on the Balkans.