Griffon Vulture Webcam in Israel

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Marbzy
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Re: Griffon Vulture Webcam in Israel

Post by Marbzy »

2 May

The female took a couple of days to rediscover her broodiness, and a week or so since the chick was placed in the nest it is the male who's monopolising the chick at nighttime. During the day, the foster parents tend to take fairly regular turns, with the female taking care of the chick mainly in the morning hours and the male taking over from her some time in the afternoon.

Here's a short Charter Group Birdcams video taken earlier today of the male pampering the chick (the female is right behind the nest):
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Post by Marbzy »

Just to avoid creating the impression that the Griffon Mom is not pulling her weight, here is another Charter Group Birdcams clip showing her feeding the little treasure on 27 April:


What a boisterous little chick we have in the nest!
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Post by Marbzy »

5 May

The Griffon Vulture chicks in both nests seem to be developing normally. The southern nestling, raised by a wild-living pair of J35 (F) and T99 (M) is almost 1 month old now, while the northern chick, raised by the famous handicapped Griffon pair, is just under two weeks old (hatching date: 22 April).

Here's another opportunity to observe how Griffon Vultures feed their chicks. The Charter Group Birdcams video below shows the handicapped male, resident at the Hai-Bar Carmel Reserve, sharing his food on 3 May with the tiny nestling and making sure that the little one does not choke on his supper:



In spite of his motor disability (due to rickets suffered early in life), the 21-year-old is a very competent parent, indeed!
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Post by Abigyl »

Thanks Marzby!!

I'm watching them from time to time... I hope it'll be an easier season.
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Post by Marbzy »

10 May

Up at Hai-Bar Carmel things seem to be going in the right direction. Food is obviously at the top of the agenda, but the supply is both abundant and varied - new carcasses (a couple of sheep, both black and white, a calf and a large cow) have been delivered to the feeding station next door in the last three days alone. No wonder the 18-day-old chick has been on the receiving end of some truly royal treatment.

Here's a Charter Group Birdcams clip of the chick being fed a little by Mom:


The whole feeding actually lasted close to seven minutes, while an hour or so later Dad served a rich range of desserts!
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Post by Marbzy »

16 May

The Griffon Vulture chick at Hai-Bar Carmel is 24 days old. It appears to be growing nicely, as the Charter Group Birdcams video below (taken on 14 May) illustrates:


Last year's fledgeling, A90, has been visiting the feeding station regularly, but has also been spotted a few times quite close to the nest. At the feeding station, the juvenile spent close to 40 minutes feeding alongside his/her foster Mom on 8 May - this included several bouts of the two birds dining in close proximity to each other. On 14 May, A90 spent 8 minutes feeding right next to his/her foster Dad. Interestingly, although the juvenile did exhibit a little aggressive behaviour towards other birds, his/her interactions with the foster parents appear to be a little different. The foster parent have occasionally sent A90 a mild warning upon deciding that the youngster's beak came a little too close to theirs, but on no occasion has the juvenile retaliated or tried to intimidate the handiapped 21-year-olds. It's a thoroughly captivating story - it will be very interesting to observe what direction interaction between the birds will take.

The Ein Avdat chick's progress is being carefully monitored by the bird's natural parents, J35 and T99. Touch wood lightning does not strike twice and the couple are able to watch the little Griffon Vulture fledge - there's still a lot of time to go before that happens. The chick is about 40 days old at the moment - it will take about another 100 days for him/her to leave the nest...
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Post by Marbzy »

25 May

The Griffon Vulture chick that is being fostered by the handicapped pair at Hai-Bar Carmel is 33 days old, just a couple of days short of 5 weeks of age. The miniature vulture is already able to sit up nicely and look out of the nest (beyond the rims). The chick is also growing a tail and the bottom edge of his/her wings is becoming jagged and black with budding primary and secondary flight feathers.

Supply of food continues to be abundant - a large cow deposited at the feeding station on 20 May has been feeding the local Griffons for a few days now. The chick's foster parents have been able to share some of their meals with the little one as illustrated in this Charter Group Birdcams video:
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Post by Marbzy »

Now the adults are beginning to leave the chick on his/her own in the nest, though unless they evacuate the nest on account of being scared away (e.g. by a food delivery) they tend to stay close and keep an eye. Only a few days ago, half a dozen Common Ravens began to visit the nest quite regularly in the mornings - it turns out that they are a pair with four successfully fledged young! However exciting the news of the ravens' fledging may be, they can be something of a nuisance to Griffon Vultures. The chick's parents have had to raise their game when it comes to defending the nest and the rare winged treasure in it. Here's a short Charter Group Birdcams video featuring one of the raven fledgelings in close proximity to the vultures' nest:
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Post by Marbzy »

1 June

The Griffon Vulture chick is 40 days old today, about one-third into his/her nestling period. A couple of little milestones have been observed in the last few days, including the use of wings (beating outstretched wings agains the nest floor) to solicit another helping of meat in the course of a feeding - first recorded on 26 May (age: 34 days), and the first few wobbly steps taken by the chick supporting his/her weight solely on his/her toes rather than the whole tarsi (age: 36 days). Occasionally, the chick has been spotted sending poop straight out of the nest - this Charter Group Birdcams clip was taken earlier today:


Incidentally, in this video the little vulture is seen taking a few proper steps, still only a few, but not that wobbly anymore. In addition to the feathers growing along the bottom edge of the wings, the chick has also started developing a nice little ruff and scapular feathers.

Taking advantage of a rich and varied supply of meat (horsemeat, lamb, beef - you name it) at the feeding station, the parents have been busy pumping food into the chick, whose requirements have been increasing steeply... (Weeks 6 to 12 are the period of the most rapid growth in Griffon Vultures - in mid-July we will be looking at a very different bird indeed.)
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Post by Marbzy »

2 June

A long overdue update from the southern nest: the chick that hatched to J35 and T99 is doing fine. The bird is around 55 days old, still a little short of half the expected fledging age. Video updates from Ein Avdat are really scarce this year - the most recent one was published on 17 May. Here's the video:


The video shows the chick at several dates when (s)he is between 28 and 38 days old. The highlights include a very red-headed father feeding the chick (5 May) and the same parent spilling his head over the unfortunate chick's head (13 May). Interestingly, the chick is shown beating his wings in excitement at being fed (by Mom) on 7 May, i.e. aged about 30 days - that's four days earlier than the same behaviour was recorded in the northern nest. At the same time, it is the northern chick who seems to be growing his/her feathers at a slightly faster rate.

A reminder: the live stream is available at https://www.birds.org.il/en/camera/26. Right now the chick appears to comfortably asleep, while Mom is watching over the little bird.

Good night!
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Post by Marbzy »

10 June

The Griffon Vulture chick in the northern nest (Hai-Bar Carmel) is now 49 days old and well into the most dynamic period of growth. Owing to frequent food deliveries to the feeding station a few metres away from the nest, the chick's adoptive parents have been able to fill his/her crop to gargantuan proportions almost every day. When compared to his/her predecessor (A90, the 2020 nestling), the chick appears to be a couple of days ahead in terms of the rate at which (s)he's been growing feathers.

Here's a Charter Group Birdcams 2-minute video of the chick earlier today:


The little monster is now able to stand on his/her toes like an adult for well over a minute, and if (s)he takes a few steps, they're no longer that wobbly. The chick's prospective scapulars and flight feathers are clearly more prominent than A90's at the same age of 49 days (11 July 2020).

Additionally, the parents are beginning to leave the chick all alone in the nest without any supervision. One such incident was observed on 2 June between 18:35 and 18:43, when Mom and Dad enjoyed a romantic supper at the feeding station. Another occurred only yesterday (9 June) at a similar time. To make things even more interesting, the chick's adoptive parents shared their dinner last night with A90 (18:28-18:46). Only one other visiting Griffon Vulture (2E2) was present at the feeding station at the time, but thankfully did not contemplate disturbing the chick while the parents were having their meal with A90.

And a quick look at the southern nest: at the age of a little over 60 days, tonight the chick is sleeping without either parent in camera view.
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Post by Abigyl »

:hi:
Thanks Marzby for all your comments :thumbs:

I just saw him standing upright and walking few steps. He is wonderful!
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Post by Abigyl »

JUNE 17th

Kid is growing too fast...

19:10 He is "barking" all day long and attacking his parents.
It sounds crazy :whistling:
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Post by Marbzy »

18 June

The Griffon Vulture chick in the nest at the Hai-Bar Carmel reserve is 57 days old. At this age, the nestling is a reasonably competent walker and the owner of a growing coat of feathers. Several rows of feathers (both black flight feathers and brown coverts) are now easily discernible on the chick's wings, and the little vulture has also grown an impressive tassel vest on the breast and belly.

After a couple of relatively quiet days at the feeding station next to the nest, a huge bovine carcass was delivered on 17 June (in the company of a much smaller calf carcass). The chick's parents immediately exploited the opportunity to fill the chick's crop with food after the little one had been kept on a very lean diet for about two days. While adult Griffons may go for up to two weeks without feeding, an 8-week-old chick, whose food requirements are quite similar to an adult's, needs to be fed much more frequently.

On 17 June, the chick's parents allowed A60, another resident GV, to spend quite a lot of time close to the nest. In the Charter Group Birdcams video below, the little vulture in the nest may be seen copying the actions of his (presumably 2-year-old) "uncle", which includes one of the first ever jumps in the life of the chick (wing exercises have now become a set piece):


Fingers crossed for the little monster: (s)he still has a long way to go - at least about another 10 weeks. But as Thursday's child (the chick hatched on 22 April), (s)he does have far to go (or rather fly).
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Post by Marbzy »

25 June

The southern chick is 79 days old. His/her coat of feathers is almost complete and he/she has recently discovered that the life of a chick is no bed of roses. Chasing away visiting Egyptian Vultures was taken care of mainly by the parents, and in any case the Egyptians (a pair in charge of a single chick in a nearby nest) are quite harmless. While they are typically up to a bit of thievery, visiting Griffons can be much nastier. Just like J16 last year, the chick has already been exposed to some bullying by non-breeding conspecifics. As the chick is now in his/her 12th week of life, his/her food requirements are at the moment greater than those of an adult. Hence both parents are now spending most of their time looking for food. This leaves the chick at risk of being attacked by other members of the colony. In the Israel Raptor Nest Cam project video below, the little one is seen taking a few blows to the back and the wings:



The visitors were T98 and A73, two 5-year-olds, marginally too young to raise their own offspring. T98 makes an appearance, too, but is not shown landing any blows. The parent who chases away the visitors is the chick's mom, J35.
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Post by Marbzy »

25 June

The northern chick is now 64 days old, probably just around the halfway mark of his/her time in the nest. He/she is currently honing his wing flapping technique and begging skills - his/her scapular and wing feathers are now long enough to give him/her the appearance of a crazy porcupine while demanding more food. About two nights ago, the chick was first observed sleeping with his head buried in his/her back, though he/she is still sleeping lying flat on the floor. Earlier today, he was observed taking some of his/her first jumps (which resulted in an occasional faceplant).

Oh, and 25 June was a very good day in terms of food provision. Two new carcasses (sheep) were deposited at the feeding station around noon, and the chick's adoptive parents did not really wait for visiting GVs to take advantage of the most juicy bits. Accordingly, the little one benefited from at least four major feedings, including one carried out by both parents. Here's a Charter Group Birdcams video of feeding number 4:



Naturally, the chick once again went to bed looking as though he/she had swallowed a tennis ball. Good night!
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Post by Marbzy »

2 July

The question screeched across the Hai-Bar Carmel reserve most often is "Where is my food?" - as demonstrated in the Charter Group Birdcams video below (cut on 1 July, with the chick exactly 70 days old):


Recent developments:

At the age of 68 days the little Griffon Vulture was observed making his/her mildly successful first attempts to sleep like an adult (standing up, with the head buried between the wings).

In the past few days, the chick - with occasional help from the parents - has had to deal with curious ravens (there's a family of six - two adults and four fledgelings - living nearby) landing on the headboard (where they are usually left alone, even if the chick is highly suspicious of any such activity and each time keeps a close eye on the visitor, occasionally launching his/her head at the guest in an attempt to scare him away) or on the edge of the nest. The nest rim is very much a bridge too far, and any raven trying to cross it is either instantly dismissed by the chick (a single wing flap is normally enough) or by a parent (like earlier today, at 08:52:49).

One other thing: the chick's adoptive parents have a very strong bond, and they like to reinforce it from time to time. It came as a surprise to me, however, when on 23 June they were observed mating out of the nest. Since then they have done this on at least three other occasions. I've been following the pair for about a year now. In this time, I have observed them mating about 200 times - each time in the nest. And now this! O tempora, o mores! :laugh:
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Post by Marbzy »

8 July

The chick reared by a foster pair at the Hai-Bar Carmel reserve is 76 days old and is being afforded increasing amounts of leeway by his/her parents. The sight of Mom and Dad feeding at the restaurant next door at the same time is not uncommon these days. On 7 July, the chicks' adoptive parents decided the spend some of the afternoon at an unknown location, leaving the chick at the mercy of potential attackers. Luckily, the chick's only companion in this time turned out to be A60, another Griffon Vulture resident at the reserve - too young and inexperienced to seriously harm the chick. Although the 2-year-old A60 spent over an hour (14:05-15:17) in the nest with the chick, only on two occasions did (s)he attack the little one - upon entering the nest and at 14:22. A slight scuffle between the two birds at 15:12 evolved into a parentng session, with A60 grooming and preening the somewhat reluctant chick. Though no questions were asked when Dad stormed the nest at 15:17, sending A60 tumbling out of the nest over the near rim.

The day's events may be reviewed in the Charter Group Birdcams daytime video for 7 July:
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Post by Marbzy »

It may also be observed that the chick's foster parents have not been trying to chase away each and every nosy parker. Crows and ravens have been hanging out around the nest almost everyday. Entering the nest is generally not on, though, as the chick's foster father demonstrated in the morning of 7 July - see the Charter Group Birdcams clip below:



Since turning 58 days old, the chick has slept alone, and in the past few days can be occasionally seen sleeping like an adult (standing up and with the head buried in the back, between the wings). Wing-flapping exercise may be witnessed quite often, and the chick has started to jump (just a little!) around the nest, while practising.

As Griffon Vulture chicks tend to fledge at the age of around 18-20 weeks, the little devil is still set to stay with us for another 50-60 days.
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Post by Marbzy »

12 July

Monday was a big day for the Hai-Bar Carmel chick. From now on, the bird may be referred to as C53 yellow, as (s)he got banded around 2 p.m. local time. The baby vulture was ringed by Ygal Miller of the Science Division of the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority, a key figure in vulture conservation. A 2-minute Charter Group Birdcams video of the ringing is here:



The banding was preceded by a food delivery to the feeding station, which had a very positive effect on the chick's confidence once Ygal Miller was gone. The baby remained timid for about half an hour, but when Mom came back with food, the little one bounced back to his/her usual self. By the evening, the chick had grown one of those legendary-sized crops...

Interestingly, shortly after the INPA vehicle had arrived, the chick climbed out of the nest and fell to the ground behind the nest only to be picked up by the wings and placed back in the nest by Mr Miller. While this was definitely the first time the chick had left the nest, it may not be seen as equivalent to fledging. But the event clearly illustrated why a certain proportion of wild-living griffons fail to fledge in spite of developing in perfect health. Griffons are cliff nesters, and in the absence of his/her parents a chick that is suddenly scared may be driven by his/her own fear off the cliff. Thankfully, C53's cliff was only about a metre high.
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