A Black Vulture in Eastern Balkan Mountains for a first time for more than thirty years! [ 2013-04-30 ]
On April 23d the photo-trap set at the vulture supplementary feeding site in the area of the Sinite kamani Nature Park captured a young Black Vulture, together with the already traditional group of foraging Griffons. This is the first observation of the species for more than thirty years!
The bird was together with 21 Griffon Vultures, releases within the Vultures Return in Bulgaria LIFE08 NAT/BG/278 Project: 7G, K2W, K4L, K0C, K1C, K3W, K08, K1R, K4A, K48, K3J, K0H, K4C, K2N, K1R, K09, K54, K2P, K3P, K34, K5L; a young guest, probably originating from Serbia (S051) as well as several wild, non-tagged young and sub-adult Griffon Vultures.
Black Vulture was widely distributed in the past, mostly in the plain areas of the country, less often in hilly areas and broad-leaved forest belt - Dobrudzha, Ludogorie, Shumen and Provadija plateaus, the Danube plain, the slopes of Sakar, Vitosha, the mountains surrounding Sofia, the Rhodopes and South-eastern Bulgaria. The campaign of using poison against large carnivores, the traps and poachers lead to the complete extinction of the species as nesting. The last confirmed nest of the species was found by the Green Balkans team in the area of the Studen kladenets Reservoir in 1997 and since then no nesting has been confirmed. Despite that, our country is often visited by Black Vultures, which still nest in the Dadia Reserve, Northern Greece, and cross the border in search of food. They often use the supplementary feeding sites, maintained by Green Balkans and BSPB for the past 25 years.
Single birds have been reported in the Eastern Balkan Mountains in the 1970s, and the last nesting attempts there were recorded in the afforested hills near Provadija. Since then only single young wandering birds have been recorded in the area of Kotlesnka Stara planina in 1993-1994, probably also coming from the Eastern Rhodopes.
This is why the Black Vulture seen at the supplementary feeding site maintained within the Vultures Return in Bulgaria LIFE08 NAT/BG/278 Project is a huge success. Griffon Vulture is an indicator species, which will hopefully prove that the conditions of the Balkan Mountains which lead to the extermination of vultures, have changed, and the Balkans are ready to welcome back their birds. The appearance of a Black Vulture long gone extinct above Sliven shows that our strategy is right and that we are on the right track towards the return of vultures to the Balkan Mountains!
Congratulation to the entire team of Green Balkans and FWFF, which is about to see a dream come true!