A rarity in the country, a pair of bald ibises squatted on a window sill in Yverdon for a few days.
A reader-reporter sent us the photos of unusual birds in our latitudes, at the end of last week. A couple of bald ibises had squatted on the edge of the window of an apartment in rue de Pierre-de-Savoie, in the thermal city. Noted, the presence of these ciconids is not new, but it is relatively rare. The individuals observed in Yverdon are part of a colony established in Austria and south-west Germany, as part of the reintroduction program.
Giorgia, a 4-year-old female, and Enea, a 5-year-old male, apparently enjoy themselves a lot in Broye and Nord-Vaudois where they have taken up residence and their habits. Not really shy – “we could almost touch them!” exclaimed our reader-reporter during a telephone interview – the couple of bald ibises seem to particularly appreciate the region.
Thus, according to Daniela Trobe, zoologist and behavioral biologist assigned to the “Waldrapp.eu” project behind the bird reintroduction program, Giorgia and Enea have already spent last summer between Chavornay, Yverdon and Payerne, cheerfully squatting various balconies . Thursday, they had taken off at the end of the morning, not without having paid their due to the couple with whom they had decided to stop. The squatters had, in fact, placed a toy, a kind of scrap metal butterfly, on the edge of the window of their landlords.
Born in Überlingen (Germany), on the shores of Lake Constance, the two birds had been taken in a microlight from Germany to Tuscany (IT) during their first year of life. They had already returned further north last year, but had not reached the German nesting area. Instead, they had preferred to stay in Nord-Vaudois and in Broye, from where they had returned to Tuscany for the winter.
Will the pair nest in the area?
The couple are currently parading – “We are witnessing a funny sight”, laughed our reader-reporter -, will he nest in the Nord-Vaudois or in the Broye? “These birds should actually fly to their nesting site in Überlingen. Other bald ibises are already there and have started breeding. But currently, it seems that Enea and Giorgia prefer Switzerland and Yverdon. They mate in different places on the window sills in Yverdon, ”says Daniela Trobe, who is following the case closely.
It does not therefore appear impossible that the couple reproduces in our latitudes. To do this, he would have to find a suitable place. Northern bald ibis nesting sites are found in cliffs or in old towers, close to waterways. This would then be a first in French-speaking Switzerland. On the national territory, only about twenty individuals were listed in 2020, according to the Swiss ornithological station of Sempach (LU). Most of these were escaped birds or migrating individuals.
This population should soon increase since the “Waldrapp.eu” project intends to establish a breeding colony of the species in Switzerland in the near future. She should be born in Goldau (SZ).
Until the 16th century, the northern bald ibis was common in central Europe. Victim of persecution, but also of climate change and intensive agriculture which got the better of its natural habitat by drainage, this ciconid had completely disappeared from the old continent. At the beginning of the century, there were still a few pairs 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 since currently the bald ibis only reproduced in the wild in Morocco and in a few rare sites in Asia Minor. Individuals born in Austria and Germany spend the winter in southern Tuscany, at the lagoon oasis of Orbetello, which was created in 1971 by the WWF.