Griffon Vulture Webcam in Israel

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Polly
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Re: Griffon Vulture Webcam in Israel

Post by Polly »

Yes, fortunately ... :innocent:
"Let nature be your teacher."
(William Wordsworth)
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Marbzy
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Post by Marbzy »

18 July

The news from both nests is positive: both chick are now onto the final straight. The northern chick (C53) is 87 days old, the southern chick is 103 days old. They have both come to the point where they're not going to change much physically, though they'll be putting on some weight, gaining strength, and working on their balance control and movement coordination.

Looking at the northern (younger) chick in the Charter Group Birdcams video below, you could be tempted to think that this young lad/lass is almost ready to leave. In fact, (s)he is set to spend 35-45 more days confined to the nest and then probably another couple of days exploring the direct neighbourhood, before finally setting off...:
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Marbzy
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Post by Marbzy »

The southern chick has been living a rough life at times. While C53 has only experienced a single short spell of bullying by a relatively inexperienced conspecific (A60, another Hai-Bar Carmel resident), the nestling reared by J35 and T99 has been attacked on quite a few occasions. Two of these incidents are shown in the Israel Raptor Nest Cam video below:



One of the bullies in the video, namely A40, has turned out to be a bit of a traveller. On 24 June, this 7-year old Griffon Vulture was observed feeding at a supplementary feeding station in the Judean Desert. The video shows the same bird around 100 km to the south-west of that vulture restaurant. And then the same Griffon travelled back to the Judean Desert, getting spotted at the same feeding station on 11 July. That's a bird that likes to fly around a bit :)

The "False alarm" in the title of the video is a reference to the chick's mother's (J35) limp observed before this footage was taken and edited. Thankfully, the female turned out to bounce back from the bad limp in the space of just two days. Ghosts of 2020 and the fate that befell K70 may just have been exorcised.
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Marbzy
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Post by Marbzy »

26 July

The northern chick (C53) is 95 days old today. His/her 2020 predecessor (A90 / H17 blue) fledged aged 125 days. Yet C53 appears to show a little more enterprise than A90 last year as (s)he continues to regularly climb the near edge of the nest (which is relatively low) and has just started to climb the other (higher) edges too. I won't be surprised when the chick's momentum propels him/her over the edge, but my fingers are crossed that this fate befalls the bird, when (s)he's already able to climb back into the nest.

The curiosity and apparent readiness of the nestling to explore the surroundings are understandable if one remembers that the bird's movements are confined to a fairly small square nest on a platform situated relatively high over ground level. The three GV chicks observed at Ein Avdat (two chicks in 2020 and one chick in 2021) have been able to make use of much more space and do plenty of walking and running along the ledges.

C53 has now interacted with a few vultures other than his/her parents, mostly with youngsters, including A90 - his/her "sibling", raised by the same pair last year. These interactions have not been tolerated by C53's foster Dad for too long - just have a look at this Charter Group Birdcams video:

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Marbzy
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Post by Marbzy »

To travel back in time a little and get, well, a taste of how a 13-week old Griffon Vulture behaves at feeding time, you might as well have look at this short video produced by Charter Group Birdcams:



A few more weeks and C53 will have to start learning to compete at the feeding station...
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Marbzy
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Post by Marbzy »

The southern chick is now 110 days old. In the Israel Raptor Nest Cam highlights video below, you will be able to see a number of visitors to the chick's nest. It appears that T94 and A40 have been visiting the baby vulture on a regular basis, and so have the EV pair (their only surviving chick is on the cusp of fledging too), though these guys never mean to inflict any direct harm on the little griffon - they just keep looking for food scraps:

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Marbzy
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Post by Marbzy »

The southern chick is slowly but surely getting ready to leave the home ledge. Naturally, (s)he must be sure to take off safely when his/her day comes. Right now, (s)he is spending his/her days mostly alone, but from time to time a visitor arrives to provide some entertainment - not a parent (they provide food), but an Egyptian Vulture (EV). The EV chick which is being raised by them has not fledged yet ((s)he could do that almost any time now), and the EV pair will keep looking for food wherever they can...:

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Post by Marbzy »

6 August

An update from the northern nest: the chick (C53) is now 106 days old. In the last few days, (s)he's been getting to know other Griffons who come to the feeding station next door on a regular basis, including J28, T93 and a few others. One Griffon Vulture to have visited C53 perhaps a little more often than others is A90, raised by the same pair in 2020. One of the 2020 chick's visits took place on 27 July, between 16:07 and 16:14. The 2021 chick had just been fed by his/her foster Mom, who the decided to ignore X65, a mature one-winged resident recently placed at the reserve, and made room for A90. At 16:08:18, the juvenile entered the nest, threatening to harass C53. Thankfully, A90 is not a competent bully yet, and the 2021 chick was thus spared the worst treatment. Curiously, neither parent took any action to stop the interaction between A90 and C53 - the foster Dad was away and is thus excused, but it's not clear why Mom refrained from intervening).

To witness the encounter, watch this Charter Group Birdcams video dated to 27 July. The key spell starts around 16:07:15:


On 5 July, A90 contemplated another visit to his/her old nest. On this occasion, the foster Dad was there to prevent any irregularities!

And just one other note: on 3 July, the chick climbed onto the nest edge and spent close to 1 hour 23 minutes occupying it. A few heartbeats got skipped, but C53 did well to keep his/her balance :smile:
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Marbzy
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Post by Marbzy »

13 August

There have been very updates from the southern nest recently. In any case, the chick is almost 130 days old tonight but has not fledged yet. The young bird may not be visited by his/her Egyptian Vulture "friends" quite as often now, because it is the EV pair's only surviving chick that has now left the nest. Here is the Israel Raptor Nest Cam video with the footage of fledging:



The chick fledged at the age of 83 days (but keeps returning to the home nest for the time being). An interesting aspect of the incident is that this is another vulture nestling to fledge in the early morning (the two GV nestlings that fledged last year in Ein Avdat set out on their first journey between 7 and 9 a.m.; the GV nestling at Hai-Bar Carmel appeared to fledge around 6:30 a.m., although no footage exists to confirm this).
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Marbzy
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Post by Marbzy »

13 August

The norther nest has seen plenty of action. It all started on 7 August, when the chick (C53) climbed out of the nest at 06:53:53 and then successfully scrambled back in about 15 minutes later. Since then, C53 has been exploring the neighbourhood on a fairly regular basis, but has not been observed yet making an appearance at the feeding station - that's almost hard to believe, given how close the restaurant is to the nest...

In general, the chick is able to leave the nest without any untoward accompanying incidents. Occasionally, though, (s)he may have overestimated his/her return-into-the-nest competence. Here's a Charter Group Birdcams of one funny little incident that took place on 9 August:

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Marbzy
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Post by Marbzy »

Additionally, it has been observed that the parents have resumed mating in the nest. They had last been observed bonding in the nest in late June (26 June). Since then they kept mating out of the nest, but the fact that they have now (11 August) started to mate in the nest (in the absence of the huge chick, of course) might be interpreted as another sign of imminent fledging.

However big and old (113 days tonight) C53 might be, (s)he hasn't fledged yet, and the parents remain as protective as ever. Earlier today, following a decent-sized dinner party at the feeding station, a number of visitors hung out around the nest. At 16:10:30 Mom decided that too much was going on too close to the nest and took it out on J28, a 2-year-old Griffon Vulture imported from Catalonia. Here's a Charter Group Birdcams video of the incident:



Although the video shows no evidence of this, earlier today (between 10:39 and 11:16) the chick was fitted with a solar-powered GPS transmitter. Apparently, the INPA believe the youngster will be off soon.
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Post by Marbzy »

18 August

It looks like my post of 13 August jinxed it. A day after I had noted that the northern chick (C53) had not made any visits to the feeding station, the brave young chick finally ventured out to the restaurant. This milestone trip took place at 18:29 on 14 August, with the chick 114 days old. It wasn't all plain sailing as the greeting by X65 (a mature but one-winged Hai-Bar Carmel resident) and J53 (a 2-year old member of the Griffon Gang, i.e. the group of vultures which regularly come to feed at the Hai-Bar Carmel restaurant) wasn't exactly cordial, but the chick braved the rough welcome and returned for more the following day, as shown in the Charter Group Birdcams video below:



Tonight the chick is 118 days old and hasn't fledged yet, although these days C53 will occasionally stay away from the nest for a few hours, like (s)he did this morning (from 9:25 a.m. until 1:16 p.m.). Earlier tonight, C53 also recorded another trip and meal at the restaurant. His/her dinner was short and supervised by Mom, the chick grew a nice round crop yet again, and is now (21:57 nest time) sleeping soundly on the edge of the nest.

One other little milestone the chick has recently accomplished is leaving the nest through the "front door", near the camera. The standard way to leave the nest is over the far-end edge. The near-end edge is located over a failrly precipitious drop, and this exit is used by birds in panic and by birds confident in their ability to absorb or altogether avoid the shock of coming to ground at a rate of knots.
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Post by Marbzy »

26 August

It looks like my latest post was lost when the forum collapsed, so here's a quick recap of what has happened in the southern nest:

The chick fledged in the morning of 23 August. The 139-day-old nestling come fledgeling went out of cam view in the early morning and was "rediscovered" a few hours later at a different part of the canyon. The video below contains some footage of the bird taking off from a rock ledge on 24 August, i.e. a day later. This means that the chick survived his/her first flight without injury:



Since the day when the chick fledged, the bird's parents (usually one at a time) have been seen spending a lot of time close to their nest, perhaps waiting to feed the fledgeling. It is to be hoped that Israel Raptor Nest Cam are able to follow the fledgeling with their camera and publish another reassuring video soon.

PS It looks like A40 (7yo) and Y82 (10/11yo) are a potential pair. They were seen together close to the empty nest not long after the fledging. The next breeding season will not start until late autumn, so we've got to wait and see.
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Post by Marbzy »

31 August

The southern fledgeling appears to be doing just fine - the latest video by Israel Raptor Nest Cam shows that (s)he's learning to move around Ein Avdat:



The landing at 0:42 was a bit off the mark, but the bird's impetuous approach towards the nest (accompanied by crazy screeching) was caused by the fact that the fledgeling was hoping to be fed by T99 (Dad). And after the male had departed, J35 (Mom) flew in and took over from her partner. A lovely scene.

PS The video also shows that Y82 and A40 might still be busy hatching a plot to take over the nest site...
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Post by Marbzy »

2 September

The northern chick has fledged. C53, as the bird is known to many (after his/her ring number), left the nest just a few minutes past 7 a.m. and headed to the feeding station, where (s)he was last seen (before fledging, that is) at 07:15:10, running towards and then past the camera.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority, who are tracking the bird using the data from his/her GPS logger, confirmed this morning that fledging took place on 1 September. The bird is reported to have completed a trip and returned to the area neighbouring Mt Carmel on the same day.

Today C53 returned to the home nest at 15:23. Next, (s)he spent an hour at the feeding station, before climbing back into the nest at 16:46 and staying there until now.

C53 fledged on 1 September 2021, aged 132 days, 26 days after climbing out of the nest for the first time. In that close to 4-week spell, C53 without a doubt gained plenty of invaluable experience interactin with other griffons both at the nest and at the feeding station. Fingers crossed the little one stays out of trouble in the coming weeks and months!

There are no videos of an airborne C53 yet, so I'll leave you with a recent Charter Group Birdcams clip (made on 22 August) of the lovely bird returning home from a bath in the nearby water hole:



Remember: this Saturday (4 Sept.) is International Vulture Awareness Day 2021. Perhaps you happen to be near one of these organisations: https://www.vultureday.org/activities/
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Post by Marbzy »

24 September

The breeding season is no well and truly over. Before shutting down the Ein Avdat stream, Israel Raptor Nest Cam released just one more compilation video of a few moments captured on 29 and 30 August, showing the fledgeling at various locations in the gorge and mainly begging his/her parents for food:

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Post by Marbzy »

As for the northern fledgeling (yellow ring C53), the cameras are still on (and are intended to remain in place through the non-breeding season) - it's "cameras" as there are two of them: one next to the nest, and one at the adjacent feeding station. The young bird has had a rather turbulent relationship with his/her foster Mom. After leaving the nest on 1 September, the kid arrived a day later to spend his/her one last night in the nest. The parents didn't mind his/her presence and only the local pack of ravens would occasionally harass the young vulture.

C53 then became a regular visitor at the feeding station, though (s)he would not come to the nest too often. Strangely enough, on 10 September, during on of those visits, Mom pecked the youngster in the back petulantly a few times. Then she left C53 be. However, the kid's next two visits to the nest (14 and 20 September) ended in prompt evictions. Here's the rough treatment administered by Mom 4 days ago (video by Charter Group Birdcams):



The 2020 fledgeling (A90) seemed to be received by his/her parents a lot better. Speculation is raging why Mom has so quickly turned against the bird she'd been feeding so diligently beak to beak until only a couple of weeks earlier...

Meanwhile, C53 has been doing fine at the feeding station - the youngster is definitely able to stand his/her ground when needed. And the saga goes on...
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