It is a singular bird, the only one that feeds exclusively on bones. Achieves almost three meters in span and it has in the Iberian Peninsula one of its main world redoubts. Spain is the European country with the highest number of bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus), up to 130 registered couples. However, this rare bird is still in danger of extinction, among the most endangered of the Spanish fauna along with the Iberian lynx, the imperial eagle, the black vulture, the brown bear, the capercaillie or the European mink. Conservation programs such as the Picos de Europa try to safeguard it and in Benia de Onís, in a specialized center, they study it more thoroughly and organize environmental awareness and education activities.
Almost a century has taken this singular vulture to fly over the Picos de Europa mountains. The indiscriminate hunting and the poisons had finished with the lammergeyer in this habitat. But now, although very modestly, they have recovered one of their old territories.
Looking for the survival of the Bearded Vulture
Two specimens have settled on the Asturian slope of the National Park, occupying the rocks of the Cares area. There they have built their nest up to three different sites, according to information from the Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture (FCQ). Is about a couple formed by Deva, a female granted by the Government of Aragon and released in 2010, and Atilano, a specimen from the National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido, in Huesca, where he was born in captivity. Atilano is attracted to Deva and seeks the sustenance of the couple, accompanying the griffon vultures that look for dead cattle; he knows that after the feast of the vultures he arrives: all the bones are his. In addition, this couple has observed nuptial behavior with several copulations, which maintains the hope of reproduction.
The program of recovery of the lammergeyer in the Picos de Europa seeks the stable settlement of the species in this area to encourage a continuous exchange of specimens, through the Iberian-Cantabrian corridor, with the Pyrenean population. The forecasts are optimistic, since the risks of yesteryear have been eliminated with the new conception of hunting. In addition, conservation policies give optimal results, as has been happening in the Pyrenees in recent years.
The Center «The Bonebreaker Mountains»
Inspired and camouflaged in the Picos de Europa, this Center for Biodiversity and Sustainable Development pretends to be something more than a center of interpretation to use. It has been conceived as a meeting and dialogue center, with open doors, in which the study and interest in natural sciences is fostered, promoting and developing initiatives for nature conservation and sustainable development.
The main thread of the exhibition area are these three elements: shepherds, mountains and lammergeiers. It consists of two floors that the visitor can walk freely with an audio guide, or joining a group in the tours of guided tour. The visit begins with a interesting audiovisual that introduces into the geological and biological formation of the Picos de Europa. Throughout the different rooms of the exhibition, the visitor can delve into the biology, ecology and ethology of the bearded vulture and be amazed by the incredible adaptations of living beings to the high mountain, discovering the importance of the shepherds as generators of biodiversity and landscape.
A vertical model of a limestone cut dominates the central area of the exhibition, reproducing on a natural scale 30 species of flora and fauna of the Picos de Europa. The visit ends with an audiovisual presentation that offers an overview of the environmental problems of today, with the consequent ability of man to continue improving their environment and conserve the species that still exist.
The center also has an eco-laboratory in which environmental workshops and a training room can be held to learn about nature in the Picos de Europa and conservation programs, highlighting the Recovery Program of the Bearded Vulture in the Picos de Europa.
The Center is located in an enviable environment, at the gates of the Picos de Europa National Park, and allows you to enjoy mountain landscapes, green areas and playgrounds for children.
2016 summer guided tours «Avistar Bonebreaker»
The Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture (FCQ) This summer 2016 organizes interpretive tours in the National Park of the Picos de Europa, to publicize the project to recover the lammergeyer.
The first stop is at the Mirador de la Reina, where a technician of the FCQ will immerse visitors in the world of necrophagous birds, taking advantage of the contribution of carrion in the feeder, making known its operation and the main species that tend to frequent it. , like griffon vultures, corvids, kites and other raptors.
In the Buferrera car park, the itinerary will start on foot along a track that approaches the release area for bearded vultures. Throughout the tour, the individuals released within the framework of this LIFE + 'Red Quebrantahuesos' project and other birds present in the Picos de Europa ecosystem can be identified.
Visits will be made every Friday of July and August, and the first half of September. For more information, interested people can visit or call the Center 'Las Montañas del Quebrantahuesos', headquarters of the FCQ in Asturias.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interestSchedule
Winter schedule (from 1 from October to 30 from June):
From Monday to Friday: from 09: 00h to 15: 00h and from 16: 00h to 18: 30h.
Saturdays: from 10: 00h to 15: 00h and from 16: 00h to 19: 00h.
Summer time (from the 1 from July to the 30 from September):
From Monday to Friday: from 09: 00h to 15: 00h and from 16: 00h to 20: 00h.
Saturdays and Sundays: from 10: 30h to 15: 00h and from 16: 00h to 20: 00h.
General: 3,00 €
Reduced: 2,70 €
Groups starting from 20 people.
Free admission: children from 0 to 6 years. Partners of the FCQ.
Audio guide service: 1,00 €
Guided tours are held every day during the summer season at 13: 00h and 19: 00h. Maximum capacity 25 people. It is recommended to make a previous reservation.
Center for Biodiversity and Sustainable Development
33.556 Benia de Onís (Asturias) s / n
Tel .: (+ 34) 985 844 293