Griffon vulture webcam broadcasts live from Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains

25 January 2021

A newly installed live webcam in the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area is now providing online viewers with a rare glimpse into the lives of Bulgarian Griffon vultures. Located in the centre of a major Griffon vulture colony, the webcam offers a close-up view of a nest, together with its feathered visitors.

A pair have already taken a liking to the spot, and in the last few days are actively building a nest for the upcoming nesting season. The camera will hopefully offer thrilling close-up views of a nesting vulture pair, giving watchers a better understanding of this majestic species and boosting conservation efforts.

This allows us to observe in real time the life of these rare birds. In addition, the technology will provide us with valuable information about their behaviour and eating habits, helping the conservation of this majestic species. It will also strengthen the bond between vultures and nature lovers across the world.

The equipment is masked with natural materials so as not to attract the attention of Griffon vultures and interfere with their reproduction. The camera was installed at the end of last year by a team from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB), Green Balkans and Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation.

Winter is usually an exciting time for vulture observation, as during January and February the female lays one egg. Each parent then takes turns to incubate the egg over the next two months.

Griffon vultures are known to be caring parents, with both partners changing position while hatching the egg and raising their chick. During hot summer days each parent can spend hours with extended wings, shading their offspring. Through the webcam the Rewilding Rhodopes team hope they can experience such intimate moments over the coming months.

An effective way of non-invasively monitoring wildlife, remote cameras have become an important research tool. The location for this webcam was selected after visiting several potential nesting sites. The device operates entirely on solar energy, and has been carefully camouflaged with natural materials to resemble the surrounding rock.

The installation of the camera takes place within the framework of a five-year LIFE project, “Conservation of Black and Griffon vultures in the Rhodope Mountains” developed by Rewilding Europe in partnership with the Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, WWF Greece, Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) and the Greek Ornithological Society. The project aims to restore and expand Griffon vulture populations and return the Black vulture to this part of the Balkans.

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