Finally, two Lammergeier chicks made it to the Picos last Tuesday, the 15th of June. Transported from the Aragonese Pyrenees having been rescued from inviable nests, the two females are now
sitting in artificial nests watching other vulture (principally Griffon, Gyps fulvus) behaviour near a feeding station as they had been in their native mountains.
The birds are being acclimatised above the area of Covadonga in the western massif of the Picos de Europa before being released within the next couple of weeks. In the photo below the director of the project, Gerardo Báguena Sanchez with one of the chicks.
While the birds are still immature it should be easier to distinguish their dark heads from the pale ones of the resident Griffons. As they grow they'll develop the adult plumage of creamy body and head (with "beard") at around five years. I'll also be looking for diamond-shaped tails, similar to the smaller Egyptian vulture, Neophron percnopterus.
The chicks' nests are made cosy with sheep's wool.
The project plans to continue over the next ten years with reintroductions of two to three birds each year. I hope they hang around.
News and photos from Fapas.