Vaud: Two strange birds put on a show in front of your window

VaudTwo strange birds put on a show in front of your window

A rarity in the country, a pair of bald ibises crouched on a windowsill in Yverdon for a few days.

A reader-reporter sent us pictures of unusual birds in our latitudes at the end of last week. Two bald ibises were crouching on the edge of the window of an apartment on the rue de Pierre-de-Savoie in the spa town. Observed, the presence of these treskiornitids is not new, but it is relatively rare. The individuals observed at Yverdon are part of a colony established in Austria and southwest Germany as part of the reintroduction program.

Female Giorgia (left) and male Enea (right) crouched on a balcony in Yverdon last weekend.

20 minutes/reader-reporter

Giorgia, a 4-year-old female, and Enea, a 5-year-old male, apparently have a great time in Broye and Nord-Vaudois, where they took up residence and their habits. Not too shy – “we could almost touch them!” exclaimed our reader-reporter during a telephone interview – the bald ibis couple seem to particularly enjoy the region.

So, according to Daniela Trobe, zoologist and behavioral biologist assigned to the “Waldrapp.eu” project at the origin of the bird reintroduction program, Giorgia and Enea have already spent the past summer between Chavornay, Yverdon and Payerne, happily crouching on various balconies. On Thursday, they had left late in the morning, not without having paid what they owed the couple they had decided to stop with. The squatters had, in fact, placed a toy, a sort of scrap butterfly, on the edge of their landlords’ windows.

Born in Überlingen (Germany), on the shores of Lake Constance, the two birds were taken by microlight from Germany to Tuscany (IT) during their first year of life. They had already returned further north last year, but did not reach the German nesting area. Instead, they preferred to stay in Nord-Vaudois and Broye, from where they returned to Tuscany for the winter.

Will the couple nest in the area?

The couple is parading at the moment – ​​“We are witnessing a funny scene”, our reader-reporter laughed -, are you going to nestle in Nord-Vaudois or in Broye? “These birds should fly to their nesting site in Überlingen. Other bald ibises are already there and have started to breed. But currently, it seems that Enea and Giorgia prefer Switzerland and Yverdon. They mate in different places on the windowsills in Yverdon,” says Daniela Trobe, who is following the case closely.

It does not, therefore, seem impossible that the couple reproduces in our latitudes. To do that, he would have to find a suitable place. Northern bald ibis nesting sites are found on cliffs or in ancient towers near waterways. This would then be the first in French-speaking Switzerland. In the national territory, only about twenty individuals were listed in 2020, according to the Swiss ornithological station of Sempach (LU). Most of these were fugitive birds or migratory individuals.

This population is expected to increase soon, as the “Waldrapp.eu” project aims to establish a breeding colony of the species in Switzerland in the near future. She must be born in Goldau (SZ).

The bald ibis had completely disappeared from Europe

Until the 16th century, the northern bald ibis was common in central Europe. Victim of persecution, but also of climate change and intensive agriculture that has taken over its natural habitat through drainage, this ciconid has completely disappeared from the old continent. At the beginning of the century, there were still a few peers in Turkey, but the construction of dams got the better of them. Since 2013, the northern bald ibis has been the subject of a reintroduction operation in southwestern Germany and Austria. A necessity according to the researchers, as the bald ibis currently only breeds in the wild in Morocco and in a few rare locations in Asia Minor. Individuals born in Austria and Germany spend the winter in southern Tuscany, in the lagoon oasis of Orbetello, created in 1971 by the WWF.

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