All posts by Христо Пешев

Новини от проектите на ФДФФ за възстановяване на белоглавите лешояди в Котленска планина и Кресненския пролом

Повече от 5 години след началото на реинтродукцията на белоглавия лешояд в Котленска планина имаме 1 гнездяща двойка, която тази година снесе яйце за трета поредна година, но отново не успя да излюпи малко. Около 25-30 от  освободените птици могат да бъдат наблюдавани в района на Котел, от които още две нови двойки са в процес на формиране. Те най-вероятно ще пристъпят към гнездене следващата година. Подробности могат да се намерят в сайта на проекта “Завръщане на лешоядите в България” в партньорство със Зелени Балкани.

В Кресненския пролом, четири години след първите пускания на белоглави лешояди и след първите неуспешни опити за гнездене през 2010 и 2011, тази година се оформиха две нови двойки, които пазят територии и копулират. Най-вероятно 3-4 двойки ще загнездят през следващия гнездови сезон, съдейки по наблюдаваните опити за формиране на двойки от наличните птици. Между 15 и 25 белоглави лешояди могат да бъдат видени в района на Кресненския пролом и съседните Национални паркове “Рила” и “Пирин”. Годишно над 70-80 белоглави (диви гости) преминават през района привлечени от ново формираната група. Подробности могат да се намерят на сайта на проекта Живот за Кресненския пролом

700 sheep of FWFF overwinter in Sakar to support Imperial Eagle conservation


In the project LIFE07 NAT/BG/68 п during the winter 2012-2013 the sheep herds of FWFF and FWFF-Sofia (about 700 sheep) overwintered in Sakar. The aim is to be restored the ancient tradition of transhumance. This way valuable habitats are maintained in optimal condition to the benefit of threatened species.

Moderate grazing in certain seasons maintain and improves the habitat for the Imperial Eagle making its prey (mainly rodents) more abundant and accessible. When a dead animal from the herds appears it is also made available as a food for the eagles that are ready to scavenge especially in winter.    

During the winter FWFF created suitable conditions for the sheep and shepherds. The lambing season is going well and has almost finished.

The pair of imperial eagles acknowledged the efforts of the project team and established its new nest just next to the sheep farm thus replicating the behaviour of their grand parents.    

In the beggining of may 2013 about 1200 sheep and lambs is expected to move northwords to the seummer pastures of Central Balkan National Park, where they will mainain the habitat for susliks, imperial eagles, saker falcons and vultures. 

FWFF compensated farmers for depredated livestock in Kresna Gorge

On March 21-th, FWFF has compensated 6 farmers in the villages of Polena and Gorna Breznitsa in Kresna Gorge for their losses of livestock due to wolf attacks. Six goats and three sheep were given in order to stimulate the livestock breeders to take due measures to avoid depredation of their herds. This way it is believed the man/predator conflict will be mitigated and consequently no poison will be used to control predators. Finally this is something that supports the conservation of vultures in the area. See pictures from the event here.

More about the Compensation programme of FWFF could be found here 

The action is part of the “LIFE for Kresna Gorge” project LIFE11 NAT/BG/363 supported by the LIFE financial instrument of EU and co-financed by The Friends of Vienna Zoo, Austria and the Bioparc Zoo de Doue, France.

First laid egg of Griffon Vulture in Kotel Mountain after 50 years, Bulgaria

Today was proven the first laid egg of Griffon Vulture in Kotel Mountain for the last 50 years. The birds were released by FWFF in Kotel Mountain in 2009. One of the birds is a French donated by Bioparc Zoo de Doue, while the other is spanish received within the Balkan Vulture Action Plan. The actions of FWFF in Kotel Mountain are within the Vultures’ Return in Bulgaria Project supported by the LIFE financial instrument of EU and cofinancied by Frankfurt Zoological Society with Green Balkans as leading beneficiary. In 2012 the same pair of Griffon Vulture bred for first time at about 60 km to the east in Kamchiyska Mountain probably pushed there from the severe winter conditions in Kotel Mountain at that time. The first breeding attempt was not successful, but we hope this year the pair to be succesful in Kotel Mountain. The hatching is expected in April 2013 and we will keep you informed about the developments.

French Griffon Vulture released in Balkan Mountain breeds in Eastern Rhodopes

A Griffon Vulture, released from the area of Kotel, Eastern Balkan Mountains, built its nest in the last remaining vulture colony in the Eastern Rhodopes.

Our colleagues from BSPB found the odd couple during the regular monitoring on the Griffon Vulture colony near Madzharovo, Eastern Rhodopes.

We recognized “our” bird by the blue wing tag with a orange “10” and the green PVC ring B19. This bird hatched in 2007 in the French Bioparc Zoo de Doue was released by Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna in 2009 from the special vulture adaptation aviary in Kotel.

At present the young family is building a nest on Kovan Kaya rock – one of the most important rocks for the Griffon Vultures in the Eastern Rhodopes.

This is the first confirmed case of a bird, released within the programme for restoring the vulture population on the Balkan Mountains, carried out by Green Balkans, FWFF and BPPS, settles in another, natural colony of the species.

Nobody likes to live in an empty block of flats, especially vultures. They are very social birds, which like to have neighbours. This is why, within the Vultures Return in Bulgaria Project, we always release a number of birds and keep some birds in the aviary, to imitate a natural colony and attract the ones we have released. Unfortunately our birds are too young and as every teenager, sometimes they like to stray a long way from home. Thus, in 2010 B19 left the area of Sliven and Kotel and found the natural colony of Griffon Vultures in the Eastern Rhodopes. There our bird fortunately found love. To our surprise, in the spring of 2011 and 2012 B19 managed to persuade the wild vulture to visit its “natal” site in the Balkan Mountains. Despite our hopes that they would turn into the second pair breeding in the area of Kotel, the instinct and experience of the wild vulture overweighed so the young pair returned back to the South, where BSPB reported a total of 56 pairs of Griffon Vultures in 2012.

We are wishing best of luck to the pair and are looking forward to seeing the “response” of the vultures, released in the Balkan Mountains within the LIFE08 NAT/BG/278 project.


Picture and sighting report by Marin Kurtev – BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria

Eight electric pylons dangerous for vultures were equipped with perch discouragers in Kresna Gorge

Eight electric pylons dangerous for vultures in Kresna Gorge were equipped with perch discouragers.

In 2012 two Griffon Vultures were electrocuted on two of these 20 kV electric pylons. One of the birds was released within the project, while the other was a guest juvenile, probably originating from Croatia. Vultures native to Balkan Peninsula are a common sight while passing through the area on their migration. The  Kresna Gorge became an important stopover for the Griffon Vultures on their migration, where they benefit from the feeding site and the company of the newly released vultures within the project.

FWFF with the assistance of “CEZ Electrodistribution” company implemented the equippment of some of the most dangerous pylons in the area. This way it is believed the area is now safe for birds of prey such as Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Golden Eagle, Black and Red kites and others.