The young bearded vulture lady Dagmar looks around, stretches out her wings and takes off with a few strong wing beats. This is what the webcam of the Berchtesgaden National Park shows.
Bearded vulture dares maiden flight in the Berchtesgaden National Park: 23 days after its release, the female Dagmar took off for the first time on Saturday morning, as announced by the State Association for Bird Protection (LBV) and the National Park.
Webcam footage showed the animal spreading its wings and soaring into the air in the morning sun. On June 9th, Dagmar and the second cub, Recka, were carried in carrying boxes by LBV employees and rangers to a rock niche that was difficult to access. The bearded vultures, which are three months old and still unable to fly, have been doing flight exercises there ever since.
Young vulture Dagmar was not completely unexpected, said project manager Toni Wegscheider from LBV on Saturday. You have recently shown clear signs of this. The experts counted up to 400 practice flaps with the wings per day in the birds. According to the LBV, Dagmar has now undertaken her first flight “very elegantly”, which led her 300 meters to a feeding station, where she immediately began to eat.
Most of the released young bearded vultures made their maiden flight between the 120th and 125th day of life, explained Ulrich Brendel, project manager at the national park. “Dagmar took off at 118 days.” Conspecific Recka was unimpressed by Dagmar’s start and continued to sleep. The experts assume that Recka will also make its first flight in the next few days. “Once the first bearded vulture has flown, it has a gravitational effect on the second,” says Wegscheider.
Flying needs to be learned
In the first few weeks, the young vultures are “mostly anything but precision pilots,” said Brendel, especially when gliding. However, every day brings increases in practice flights, so that the two bearded vultures are likely to be circling in the summit regions of the national park after just a few weeks.
The mood between the two bearded vultures was harmonious – after the little Recka had initially scolded Dagmar – as the experts reported. Both vultures therefore regularly slept together on a nest, begged each other for food and beaked familiarly with each other.
The birds with a wingspan of up to three meters were wiped out in Germany more than 100 years ago. A year ago, the LBV and the National Park released two bearded vultures, Bavaria and Wally, as part of a reintroduction project. However, Wally died under circumstances that are still unclear. Remains of her cadaver and her transmitter were discovered in late May.