From today, sixth of March, visitors will be able to watch on streaming from anywhere in the world through a smartphone or on the internet, black vulture’s reproductive behaviour in Madrid’s mountain range.
The nest has been selected for 2020 campaign after observing a couple starting to settle by early February, and, thus, the camera was installed on the 11th of that same month. At present, the nest is quite prepared and it is most likely that breeding season will start over the next few days.
The couple is composed of a young and inexperienced individual, ringed as a fledgling from the same colony in 2015, and an adult individual presumably from a different one.
This nest was located in 2007, and since then, it has been used by black vultures for breeding twelve times, successfully raising a single brood nine of those twelve times. Over the last three years, reproduction has been a success with the lay always taking place in March.
It is worth mentioning that this colony from ‘Alto Lozoya’ Special Protection Area for Birds, whose monitoring has been Spain-SEO Birdlife’s responsibility for more than two decades, is one of the most studied and followed up in the world, being, also the sixth in importance.
During the last campaign (2019), 145 nest placements were located and monitored, among which 140 were still functional; of that 140, 139 were used; Hence, black vulture population in 2019 had 139 couples, eleven individuals more than in 2018, among which eleven were non reproductive pairs (7,9%) and the rest, 128, started breeding (92,1%).
Out of those 128 pairs who bred, 42 failed (32,8%), percentage considerably lower than that of the previous year; the remaining 67,2% of the reproductive couples were successful, presenting 86 flying fledglings in the colony, 38 more than the previous season and well beyond the 62 broods per year on average; a very good result considering the last five years.
Research and protection for black vulture
‘Comunidad de Madrid’ has been installing webcams for black vulture nest’s monitoring since 2014 to facilitate research and conservation for this predatory bird, one of the biggest of Europe. Moreover, valuable information is gathered related to the biology of this threatened species.
Data collected will be used to enhance protection and management for this species and also to bring its evolution and development closer to people, satisfying their curiosity.
A good example of that thirst for knowledge is the fact that in previous campaigns the webcams installed by ‘Comunidad de Madrid’ and Spain-SEO Birdlife received more than 100,000 visits.