Golden Eagles, Bearded Vultures and Co.
Birdwatching in Parc Ela
Andreas Kofler leads the small group deeper into Val Tuors. Only a few people know of this little side valley near Bergün. Fortunately for mountain ibex, chamois and red deer, but also for golden eagles, bearded vultures and peregrine falcons, which live here largely undisturbed. So that things stay this way, Andreas Kofler observes «his» birds of prey from a distance. Modern binoculars and portable telescopes make this possible.
No bearded vulture can be seen over the next minutes. Time for some bird theory. Andreas Kofler pulls a few large tail feathers and a long string from his backpack. «Please hold this» he says. With the help of the boy, he pulls the cord apart. Two meters and 80 centimetres – the wingspan of a bearded vulture. Amazing, when one considers that this scavenger feeds almost exclusively on bones.
The fact that bearded vultures are harmless was barely known in the 19th century. Known as «lamb vultures», the last one was killed in Switzerland in 1886. It was a pity that there were no guided wildlife observation tours back then. It would have saved the reintroduction efforts at the end of the 1980s, Andreas Kofler reports. In that moment a large silhouette appears above him in the sky. «White feathers, v-shaped tail-this is a bearded vulture,» he exclaims.
The group excitedly looks into the sky while listening to the further explanations of the ornithologist, who has been interested in birds since primary school. Whenever possible, he sets off and searches for his beloved birds in the mountains. Increasingly, he does this with company. Andreas Kofler has recently completed his hiking guide training and was therefore able to partly make his passion a profession.