First breeding of Northern Bald Ibis in Switzerland in 400 years. And it did so at an unusual site: a windowsill of a Harley-Davidson dealer in Zurick.
The only remaining wild colonies of the Northern Bald Ibis are located in the Souss-Massa National Park and Tamri cliffs, south-west Morocco.
Two reintroduction projects are active in Europe, one in Spain and another in Central Europe. The “Proyecto Eremita”, which was started in 2004, aims to establish a sedentary, stable, and self-sufficient population in La Janda, Andalusia, southern Spain. [Read: Northern Bald Ibis crossing between Spain and Morocco].
The “Waldrapp Project“, which was initiated in 2001, aims to establish a self-sustaining wild and migratory population of the Northern Bald Ibis in Central Europe. Three colonies were established in the framwork of this project: one in Austria (Kuchl) and two in Germany (Burghausen and Überlingen am Bodensee). The birds from this reintroduced population winter in Tuscany, Italy. [Read: GPS tags cause corneal opacity in Northern Bald Ibis].
Swiss institutions have also been planning to reintroduce the species in Switzerland. However, they acknowledged that they still have a long way to go before they can actively engage in the reintroduction of the species into the country. In this webpage (in French and German), they mentioned a number of necessary actions “before the first birds can fly freely in Switzerland again”. And they added that “This will probably not be the case before 2024”.
Birds from the nearby colonies have another “opinion” though!
First breeding in Switezerland in 400 years
Earlier this month, Martin Meier discovered a pair of Northern Bald Ibis nesting on a windowsill of a Harley-Davidson dealer in an industrial area near Zurich airport. This site is not very far from the colony of Überlingen on Lake Constance.
What a site these bald ibises have chosen to break four centuries of absence of breeding in the Swiss Confederation lands!