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27/05/24

Record-High Number of Griffon Vulture Chicks in Eastern Rhodopes This Spring

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A record-high number of griffon vultures hatched in the Bulgarian part of the Eastern Rhodope Mountains this spring. The annual monitoring of this species’ nesting colonies in the Eastern Rhodopes counted 90 chicks, up by 15 from last spring. The number of pairs increased by 9 compared to 2022, reaching 120 this spring, the team of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) reported.  
Dobromir Dobrev of the BSPB commented that the data indicate a continuation of the positive upward trend in the griffon vulture population in the Eastern Rhodopes of the last decade. He expects three more hatchlings now that three more pairs have began incubation. A total of 103 nesting pairs have been observed, which is another record compared to the previous years, he said, as quoted by the BSPB.
According to Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation’s spring count data, there were 88 chicks in 2021 and just 51 chicks back in 2016. BSPB data show an increase in the number of individuals from 184 in 2016 to 245 in 2020.
The chicks hatch in late March and early April and need four months of constant care until they can take their first flight. By mid-summer, they are fully developed and weigh as much as their parents (around 7 kg), if not more.
The BSPB team will continue monitoring the nests until all young vultures take flight, so as to report on the number of successfully developed chicks. 
The monitoring, research, and conservation activities for the griffon vulture in the Rhodope Mountains are carried out by the BSPB with the financial support of Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation and the Netherlands-based Rewilding Europe organization. 
The griffon vulture is an endangered species with a key role in ecosystems’ proper functioning; these birds are indicators of healthy and intact natural habitats. In Bulgaria, the efforts to protect and increase their number within the LIFE RE-Vultures project have resulted in a growing population of griffon vultures in the Rhodope Mountains. 

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