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Picture of the Day

Vultures reveal critical Old World flyways

A research team has hunkered down near garbage dumps from Ethiopia to Armenia in order to catch highly intelligent Egyptian vultures in harmless traps. The team eventually managed to catch and tag a total of 45 vultures from 2012-2016. The Egyptian vulture is an endangered species and by tracking them, the researchers learned more about where they eat, breed and migrate. These vultures migrated along the Red Sea Flyway -- a large area connecting the summer and winter ranges of birds in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa -- and their travel routes revealed migratory bird corridors and bottlenecks. Identifying bottlenecks -- i.e. places where birds concentrate on migration -- helps bird conservationists know what areas to focus on and get the most bang for their buck, since a large percentage of a species' population can pass through these small areas. The vultures are just one species out of around 35 large soaring bird species that migrate along the Red Sea Flyway. There are dozens more small birds that migrate here as well. It's the second largest migratory flyway in the world, behind only the Americas Flyway, which connects North and South America.

Visit Website | Image credit: Evan R. Buechley/University of Utah /HawkWatch International