Bearded vulture flies out of UK

The young bearded vulture that summered in the UK has been photographed flying over Beachy Head on the south coast, presumably heading back to France.

A number of photographers captured the vulture’s apparent departure yesterday, including this fantastic image from Peter Alan Coe:

The vulture, nicknamed Vigo, had been a cause of concern in the summer as it’d chosen to hang out in the Peak District in ‘one of the worst 10km squares for raptor persecution in the UK’ (see here). However, it was able to avoid being shot or poisoned on a Peak District grouse moor, probably due to all the extra attention on the area from visiting birdwatchers with high-powered optics.

In September Vigo left the Peak District and was seen in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. This change of location allowed fieldworkers to go in and collect moulted feathers from one of the favoured roost sites in the Peak District and these were sent off for genetic analysis. A few days ago the results were in and the Vulture Conservation Foundation confirmed that Vigo was a female and had hatched from a nest in the Alps in 2019 (see here).

The threat of illegal persecution doesn’t end just because she’s leaving the UK. Last weekend there was a report (here) that another young Bearded vulture, hatched this year at a zoo in Germany and released during the summer as part of the French reintroduction scheme, had been found shot in Cevennes National Park.

7 thoughts on “Bearded vulture flies out of UK”

  1. That’s a bloody relief, but tempered with news of what happened to that other vulture in the Cevennes. No doubt that without all the benign attention it was getting it would have been bagged as a particularly potent vehicle for spite against conservationists and mega bragging rights the next time the lads were knocking it back at the ‘Man Trap and Gibbet’.

    Because of this rare visitor Roy Dennis wrote recently that vultures could be future breeding species in the UK, he even mentioned how that could be facilitated including special fenced off areas where carrion could be left by farmers as happens on the continent. I was delighted with this because when I was a teenager I read that they wouldn’t have long enough for a proper breeding season this far north. If RD says they could breed here that’s a pretty good indication that information was wrong…..vultures as UK breeding species!!??!!

    Vigo could have been a harbinger of the future, if the conservation schemes for vultures down south are successful young birds will look for new territories, it’s happening already. There are moors struggling to keep merlin that could one day host vultures, who would have thought thirty years ago one day cattle egret would breed in Britain? It’s not too far fetched, but only if we get rid of DGS.

    1. Why do people shoot this type of bird?
      Most probably as a result of a mixture of ignorance, blended with the sense of power that possession of a firearm gives them, and the desire to inflict harm or death on another living creature- some of the hallmarks of a bully!

      Vultures are essential scavengers which clean up the natural environment of dead and rotting carcasses which otherwise would spread disease. The case studies in India of the consequences of a massive decline in vulture populations, highlight what happens when populations of these birds plummet.

      Sadly, there are those even in the developed countries of Europe, who remain uneducated, fail to understand the importance various species play in ensuring the natural ecosystems properly function- and society is foolish enough to allow these people access to various means of inflicting death- whether that be firearms, traps or poisons!

      I think a farmer I was talking to recently about problems in countryside summed this up beautifully when he said-

      ” You can’t educate the stupid” !!!

      1. Spot on sadly. Among some in south America it’s quite the thing to bag a condor or a harpy eagle, and apparently in Albania there’s a market for dead golden eagles that can be nailed up behind the bar in some pubs. No great surprise in the latter place there have been generational running blood feuds between families that have involved the retaliatory murder of children (confirmed to me by an Albanian) too. A society that believes it can accommodate this idiocy might as well think you can be just a little bit pregnant or have just a little malignant tumour – look at the charmers we have in this country that want to bring back fox hunting, or the bad bastards illegally shooting in Malta.

      1. Possibly a way of kicking back against those who value wildlife, and who would rather see it respected and valued. And who do not accept traditional rural attitudes.

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