England’s Oldest National Park Visited by Bearded Vulture

Bearded Vulture Visits England’s Oldest National Park

The only other British sighting of a Bearded Vulture occurred back in 2016 in Monmouthshire.2

This bird of prey has a commanding presence—it’s huge and hairy-looking! The bearded vulture is large: 3-4 feet long with a wingspan of 7-9 feet. It can weigh 10-17 pounds, with females being slightly larger than males. Unlike other vultures, the bearded vulture is not “bald-headed.” In fact, bristles under its chin look like a raggedly “beard,” hence the bird’s name.3

Birdwatchers have flocked to the moors to see the bearded vulture, which has only been seen once before in the UK, the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said. But the trust’s Tim Birch said it “couldn’t have come to a worse spot in terms of bird of prey persecution”. … Mr Birch said as it was coming up to grouse shooting season, there were fears the rare raptor could be intentionally poisoned or shot. … However Richard Bailey, gamekeeper and co-ordinator of the Peak District Moorland Group, said “suggestions that this vulture is at risk from attack by gamekeepers” were wrong.1

Admittedly, the bearded vulture has a rough, if not thuggish, reputation. In Germany it is called lammergeier, meaning “lamb-hawk,” due to its habit of preying on lambs—not a positive reputation in agricultural communities. Also called “ossifrage” (meaning bone-breaker), about 80% of the bearded vulture’s diet is animal bone marrow, mostly from mammal bones, but also from bird bones.3,4

[Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s] Birch said the bearded vulture fed mainly on bones from carcasses, very rarely on live prey, and could swallow bones whole, which were dissolved in its stomach.1

Although scavenging can provide needed food, especially during the breeding season, these vultures often attack live prey, such as hares, rock hyraxes, marmots, and even monitor lizards. More so than predatory hawks or eagles, bearded vultures often attack larger mammals, such as sheep or goats, which are dropped from heights onto rocky surfaces to break their bones. Bearded vultures also grab turtles and drop them from heights to crack open their shells.3,5

Meanwhile, to say this mountain-dwelling bird is rare—only the second time ever observed in Great Britain—is an understatement.

Birdwatcher Indy Kiemel Greene, 15, who photographed the bearded vulture on Sunday, shared the trust’s fears for its safety. He said: “Unfortunately this bird is at great risk because the location that it’s at in the Derbyshire Peaks is well-known for raptor persecution….”1

Its preferred habitat is a high-altitude mix of rocky crags, cliffs, canyons, and montane gorges. So what is it now doing in England’s Peak District anyway?

[Tim Birch] said it was thought the raptor had come from the French or Swiss Alps, where the endangered species is being reintroduced. About 500 birdwatchers have come to catch a glimpse of the bird from all over the UK, as well as France, Spain and the Netherlands. … It is thought the bird could stay in the area for a couple of weeks if it has found food before eventually returning to the Alps.1

For birdwatchers (and videographers) who can visit the Peak District National Park, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime. But if you visit the park with a pet poodle, keep your pet leashed and very close to you. No need to take a chance.

References
1. Burman, H. Fears for Bearded Vulture Spotted in the Peak DistrictBBC News. Posted on bbc.com July 14, 2020, accessed July 16, 2020.
2. Staff writer. Bearded Vulture Spotted Near Severn BridgeBBC News. Posted on bbc.com May 17, 2016, accessed July 16, 2020.
3. Jonsson, L. 1993. Birds of Europe, with North Africa and the Middle East. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (transl. by David Christie), page 124. See also Clark, W. S. 1999. A Field Guide to the Raptors of Europe, the Middle east, and North Africa. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Pres, pages 56-60 & 302-303, plus Plate 12.
4. Obviously, bearded vultures are not the only predators adept at cracking and crushing bones of their prey—lions have earned a similar reputation (Daniel 6:24).
5. Other large-winged birds of prey are noted for dropping their victims in order to prepare them for ingestion. For example, near Jerusalem, eagles soar while scouting for mammals or reptiles; these same eagles are known to snatch tortoises, and to “kill [them] by dropping and smashing [the tortoises] on rocks from high in the air” (Quoting Noel and Helen Snyder. 1991. Birds of Prey. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 164).

*Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.

JAMES J. S. JOHNSON, J.D., TH.D. *  |

[Re-posted from ICR article at https://www.icr.org/article/bearded-vulture-visit-england-oldest-national-park ]

Reposted here with Dr. Jim’s permission and at his request. (Lee)

See Also:

James J. S. Johnson’s other articles here

Birds of the Bible – Name Study ~ Ossifrage

Birds of the Bible – Gathering of Vultures or Eagles

Bible Birds – Vulture Introduction

Black Vulture by Lee Myakka SP

Black Vulture by Lee Myakka State Park

“But these are the ones that you shall not eat: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture,” (Deuteronomy 14:12 NKJV)

  • Christian Standard Bible (CSB) “but these are the ones you may not eat: eagles, bearded vultures, black vultures,
  • Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) “but these you are not to eat: eagles, vultures, ospreys,
  • Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) “But don’t eat any of these birds: eagles, vultures, buzzards,
  • English Standard Version (ESV) “But these are the ones that you shall not eat: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture,
  • Expanded Bible (EXB) “But do not eat these birds: eagles, vultures, black vultures, 13 red kites, falcons, any kind of kite,
  • GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) “But here are the birds that you should never eat: eagles, bearded vultures, black vultures,
  • International Children’s Bible (ICB)  “But do not eat these birds: eagles, vultures, black vultures,
  • International Standard Version (ISV) “You may eat all clean birds, 12 but you must not eat any of these: the eagle, vulture, osprey, 13 buzzard, any kind of kite,
  • Names of God Bible (NOG) “But here are the birds that you should never eat: eagles, bearded vultures, black vultures,
  • New English Translation (NET) “But do not eat these birds: eagles, vultures, black vultures,
  • New International Reader’s Version (NIRV) “But there are many birds you can’t eat. They include eagles, vultures, and black vultures.
Leviticus 11:18 and Deuteronomy 14:17 (NKJV) mention a carrion vulture. Jeremiah 12:9 mentions a speckled vulture.
All of these verses give us several different kinds of vultures.
vulture
bearded vulture – covered in Bible Birds – Ossifrage
black vulture
carrion vulture
speckled vulture
I am sure if I checked all of the translation available in BibleGateway, I would find some other type of Vulture. That might be a project you could do.
The vultures belong to the same family as the Buzzards recently written about. Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks & Eagles Family.
“A vulture is a scavenging bird of prey. The two types of vultures are the New World vultures, including the Californian and Andean condors, and the Old World vultures, including the birds that are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains. Some traditional Old World vultures (including the bearded vulture) are not closely related to the others, which is why the vultures are to be subdivided into three taxa rather than two. New World vultures are found in North and South America; Old World vultures are found in Europe, Africa, and Asia, meaning that between the two groups, vultures are found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.”

White-backed Vultures (Gyps_africanus) on zebra carcass ©WikiC

From that description, again, you can see why those birds aren’t eaten. Eating something they just killed would be bad enough, but to eat things that had already died. That is not the kind of bird you would want to eat at Thanksgiving.
Here are some of the Vultures from around the world:

ABC’s of the Gospel

%d bloggers like this: