In May 2020 Diego and Lucrezia, after spending autumn and winter in south-western Sicily and southern Calabria respectively, returned to Basilicata, where they had been freed in summer 2019.
The two young Egyptian vultures, born at CERM Centro Rapaci Threatened in 2018 and 2017 respectively, had left the release area, located in the Murgia Materana Regional Park, in September 2019 and they had embarked on their first migration which, however, had stopped only a little further south, in southern Italy. Instead, three other young Egyptian vultures freed with them – Jane, Noah and Leonardo – had gone on to Africa.
Diego and Lucrezia had been freed at one year and two years of age to check as the release age increases, the migratory instinct decreases almost to cease. Event that occurred for three out of the four one-two year old subjects who started the migration and who, in fact, stopped to winter in Italy.
On 17 May 2020 Diego left the chosen wintering area to fly first in central-northern Sicily and then head east and pass the Strait of Messina. After flying over Calabria along the Ionian side, Diego reached Basilicata on 27 May. Along the way, he visited several areas which, in more or less distant years, housed nesting couples of Egyptian vultures. Lucrezia left her Calabrian wintering area on 20 May and after a short trip to central-northern Puglia reached the province of Matera; here on May 24 she stopped right in the area where she was released less than a year ago.
The arrival in Basilicata of Diego and Lucrezia was preceded by that of Sara who, released by CERM in the nearby LIPU Oasis of the Gravina di Laterza (in Puglia) in 2015, ended on May 5 her spring migration that began in Niger, a country in the sub-Saharan belt where Sara had wintered.
Sara had already returned to Italy in the spring of 2019 after four years spent in Africa, to then face a new migration to Niger in late summer.