Bearded vulture makes long excursion

A bearded vulture released into the wild in eastern Switzerland last year was seen in Normandy and Belgium last month, but has now returned home.

This content was published on July 12, 2011 - 18:27 and agencies

Experts from Pro Bartgeier (the Foundation for Bearded Vultures) had worried lest the male bird, named Sardona, would not find his way back to the Alps.

Sardona, who was bred in the Goldau zoo in central Switzerland, carries a transmitter, enabling his movements to be tracked.

The foundation announced on Tuesday that it had released three more young birds last month, and said they were doing well.

The bearded vulture – also known as the lammergeier – is one of Europe’s largest birds, with a wingspan of up to 2.8 metres. It was once widespread, but became extinct in the Alps at the beginning of the 20th century. An international reintroduction programme has been underway since 1987. A breeding couple first produced chicks in the wild in Switzerland in 2007.

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