Vulture Dad Emerges From Nest Battered By Snowstorm

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyNewsflash

Newsflash/SEOBirdLife

This is the moment a male vulture taking care of its eggs wakes up in its nest that has been covered in an icy layer after a snowstorm hit.

The incident was filmed by a hidden camera on Rascafria mountain in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park just north of the central Spanish capital Madrid as part of the SEO/Birdlife project.

According to local media, a couple of black vultures (Coragyps atratus) were caring for their eggs when a snowstorm hit the area.

The footage shows the male vulture taking care of the eggs in the nest which is completely covered in thick snow.

Ornithologist and SEO/Birdlife member Javier de la Puente told Newsflash that the vultures are able of withstanding freezing temperatures and such conditions.

The vulture couple are part of a colony of 140 pairs living in the region.

De la Puente said: “The breeding season is between February and September.”

The ornithologist said that webcams are set up once the birds start to build their nest.

Cameras are positioned in a nearby area, and do not intrude on the vultures’ immediate surroundings. Images are then live-streamed to a control centre.

De la Puente told Newsflash: “Spain has one of the biggest vulture populations in Europe.”

He added that they commonly live in mountainous regions at a height of between 1,500 and 1,900 metres.

The ornithologist said: “As it is a mountain area, snowfall is normal. However, this was a very late snowstorm.”

He also explained that both the male and female commonly taking care of the eggs until they hatch. The footage shows the male vulture and it is believed its partner was looking for food several kilometres away before being surprised by the snowstorm and staying put until it passed.

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Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.

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