In the last few years Griffon vultures have been turning up in northern Europe in increasing numbers and frequency, and almost every year there are reports from atypical places. This weekend a group of 34 griffon cultures, including a colour-ringed individual from Spain (see photo), was seen in the northern area of Jutland, Denmark (Års, Nordjylland). With the closest known breeding site more than 1500 kilometers away, the species remains a rare vagrant in the country.
The birds were first recorded on Friday 24th when they landed near a pig farm, suggesting they were able to locate a potential food source. The farmer then provided them with food (2 pigs). Around 75 people gathered to watch the birds.
Among them there was 9TP (yellow ring), a 2013 wild born bird that entered a rehabilitation center in northern Spain (Aragón region). It was released back to the wild on 1st October 2013 in Alquezar municipality, also Aragón region (Huesca province).
Griffons are able to fly over great distances, all over Europe (and outside). By carefully checking the birds, birders have been able to read several rings or markings. With that information the origin of the birds can be found. Most of the observed birds in northern Europe have an origin in the Pyrenees, but also birds from Italy, Croatia and Bulgaria have been reported.
Photo: Gerner Majlandt
This article was first published by the Vulture Conservation Foundation 28 June 2016