Provence & Côte d’Azur: The flight of a recently born bird of prey gives hope to wildlife experts
Bearded baby vulture takes to the skies
Seen silhouetting the skyline and surveying its home territory, the young bearded vulture flew for the first on 4th July aged 126 days. The bird, named Cassos, follows its siblings Parouart in 2008 and Ubaye in 2011, and represents great success for the national park in which the family nest is based. The parents, who have been living in the commune of Saint Paul sur Ubaye in the Alps since 2007, are the only couple stationed in the Southern Alps.
The flight is fantastic news for the conservation of this endangered species and its gradual return to our mountains. With approximately only 100 breeding pairs existing in Europe today, and 21 in the Alps, the baby vulture has been well received. It is also great testament to the work of Mercantour National Park, who has worked alongside Italy's Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime since 1993, with the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation since 2007, and a host of volunteers.
Surrounded in fables and legends, the bearded vulture, which was once thought to devour children, has made a great impression on people for hundreds and thousands of years. The bird will drop and crack bones from a great height in order to access the delicious bone marrow inside. Dating all the way back to 455 BC, Greek playwright Aeschylus was said to have been killed by a tortoise that was dropped by a bird who mistook his bald head for a rock. In Iranian mythology, the rare bird is also a symbol of luck and happiness, believing that you would rise to sovereignty if its shadow crossed over you.
Cassos, with confidence now under his wings, will discover his native valley, before settling on a territory at the age of six.