This year, the LIFE Vultures Team rom BSPB and Rewilding Rhodopes counted about 50 less Griffon Vultures compared to last year in the Eastern Rhodopes.
Тhey observed about 147 of these rare birds in the valley of the Arda River, where the largest colony of Griffon Vultures in Bulgaria is located. By comparison, 201 Griffon Vultures were counted there last year, which was a record number for the Eastern Rhodopes since 2005, since the beginning of the annual Griffon Vulture census. The area is home of the largest colony of griffon vultures in Bulgaria. Last year a record number of 201 griffon vultures were sighted, the highest registered during the annual roost count in the Eastern Rhodopes since 2005. This year 38 experts and volunteers took part in the traditional census of Griffon Vultures on the Balkan Peninsula.
The census itself took place in November in bad meteorological conditions, which affected the results. “Much of the main rocky complexes used for overnight were covered with thick fogs and clouds which prevented the estimation of the exact number”, commented Volen Arkumarev from BSPB. The regular monitoring is done within the frames of LIFE project “Conservation of black and griffon vultures in Rhodope Mountains”.
The Vultures Back To LIFE project also joined the Griffon Vulture roosting sites census in the Balkans. The team from the Fund for Wild flora and Fauna observed 72 Griffons in Kresna gorge (a new record for the area) and 82 in Kotel. Due to bad weather conditions, the Green Balkans team at ‘Sinite kamani’ did not manage to observe any Griffon Vultures. Finally, on the 30 November, our colleagues from the Birds of Prey Protection Society observed 35 Griffon Vultures in the ‘Vrachanski Balkan’.
The census is conducted at the beginning of winter when the vulture breeding season begins. Its purpose is to determine the population of the Griffon Vultures in the Balkans, their age structure and to record the presence of threats around the rocks used for roosting. The traditional census of the Griffon Vultures on the Balkan Peninsula started in 2005 – this is the 15th census that took place on November 23-24. BSPB is the organiser and coordinator in partnership with nature conservation organisations from Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Northern Macedonia.