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Blog posts after 1 Feb 2018 about Steppe eagles tracked from Oman can be found at the Steppe eagle blog

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Vulture Awareness

by M. McGrady and B. -U. Meyburg

International Vulture Awareness Day is on Saturday 7 September.  As a warm up to that, below is a animation of the movements of some of the Egyptian vultures we are tracking in Oman.  In case you have not been following the blog, we tagged 13 Egyptian vultures in 2018, thinking that the large increase of vultures at dump sites in Oman was the result of migrants arriving from farther north.  To our surprise all the tagged vultures except one stayed in Oman (one hopped over to southern Iran), and most of them seemed to be territory holding birds.  This led us to believe that the resident population of Egyptian vultures in Oman was in fact much larger than suspected  (click here).  In spring 2019 a field team confirmed this by finding over 60 vulture breeding territories in a restricted area south of Muscat, indicating that Oman truely is a stronghold for globally Endangered Egyptian vultures.

Below is a short animation of a few weeks of movements by some of our tagged birds.  What it shows is that birds are dwelling on their territories most of the time, making almost daily trips to the landfill (pink triangle near the middle), and every once in a while they wander more widely.  The animation was assembled by John Burnside at the University of East Anglia (Thanks, John).  John is working on McQueen's (houbara) bustard.  You can learn more about his work here https://www.sustainablehoubaramanagement.org/ and on Twitter  @SustainHoubara  https://twitter.com/SustainHoubara?s=17