When out of one of these eggs a chick is born, feeding starts with Bearded Vulture puppets, in dead silence, so that it never gets attached to human beings. After some weeks, when the chick is strong enough to be exposed to outside conditions, it is transported to a nest in a cage close to the Vulture feeding place in the National Park Ordesa y Monte Perdido, high up in the Pyrenees.
The chick can see his next of kin, the Bearded Vultures there behave in the freedom of the field, pruning, fighting for lumps of meat, waiting for their turn to get a bone, etc.The man or woman of the FCQ who will continue feeding the chick with puppets, struggles up the mountain with butcher’s offal and bones, and stays there several days with the chick to feed it, again without being seen or heard. Then another will walk up with new food, to relieve him or her. The relieved person will get his or her rest in the biological station Monte Perdido at Revilla.
A few weeks before the chick is strong enough to take flight, it is transported from the Pyrenees to a similar cage with nest in the National Park Picos de Europa. There it has a view on a series of cliffs and rock ledges above the gorge of the Cares and slopes where all kinds of birds of prey fly, but where the Bearded Vulture has not yet returned. And again it is fed by means of puppets until the day it has demonstrated to be strong enough to fly. The release is in May or June of the year it was born. It stays loyal to the place where it thinks it was born: the Picos de Europa. The ‘hacking method’ developed for the condors seems to work well for the Bearded Vulture.
Up to now, two females born in 2010, have been released in the Picos de Europa, one of which has already died, a natural death. Since december 2013 the other, Deva, seems to have a suitor from the Pyrenees, nicknamed Casanova. Recently they have been seen mating. Usually Bearded Vultures are not successful in bringing up chicks until they are ten years old. But making nests and laying eggs may start at a younger age, in this case already in 2015.
Three more young Bearded Vultures in the Picos de Europa in 2014 may attract more specimens from the Pyrenees. It is important that the population in the Pyrenees finds room in the Picos de Europa, to resist diminishing of their food resources and habitat in the Pyrenees. And to fill thplace in the Picos which they lost 80 years ago.