Hundreds of birds of prey frequent the supplementary feeding points set up in Sicily

Western Sicily is an obligatory crossing point for the autumn migratory flow: thousands upon thousands of birds pass through it before flying across the Mediterranean to Africa.

These individuals come from Italy and northern, central and eastern European countries. Brown kites, marsh harriers and Egyptian vultures often stay in this area for several days, waiting for favourable winds to accompany them to the African continent.

Within the framework of the LIFE Egyptian vulture project, the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale ISPRA has set up a supplementary feeding point in this strategically important area, which provides quality food and prevents hundreds of birds from dispersing in search of food in the surrounding man-made areas, running into all kinds of dangers.

The facility, which is video-controlled by webcam and phototrap, is supplied and monitored by ornithologists from ISPRA and the StOrCal Ornithological Station of Calabria. Next to this feeding station, the CERM Centro Rapaci Minacciati Association has activated another feeding point, thereby increasing the available trophic sources.

Since September, a very large number of birds have taken advantage of these special dining areas to feed; in particular, more than three hundred brown kites have been observed in the area at the same time.

Once they arrived in Sicily during their migration, Tommy and Pina, who were released in Basilicata in 2022, and other wild-born young also found and used these feeding points. In order to ensure the safety of the Egyptian vultures in the area, personnel from the Comando Unità Forestali, Ambientali e Agroalimentari (Forest, Environmental and Agri-food Units Headquarters) are on duty, carrying out important poaching prevention activities in the area surrounding the two feeding points.

Pina, released in Basilicata in August 2022, in the operational feeding station in western Sicily (image from the video surveillance system)
Brown kites at the feeder of the migration support feeding station (image from the video surveillance system)
Tommy in the CERM feeding area (image from the video surveillance system)
Brown kites in the supplementary feeding area (image from the video surveillance system)

Life Egyptian Vulture