In nature, the nesting season of Israel's griffon vultures begins in December-January, but for those in captivity, e.g., in breeding cages — the season starts a bit later, as happened at Ramat Hanadiv.
Our breeding cage currently numbers seven occupants: three female vultures from Israel and two from Cyprus, and two young males from Armenia. Since the males are just about reaching sexual maturity, we were not certain there would be any fertilized eggs in the cage this year.
We did find one egg in the cage two weeks ago, but it was not fertile. Then, just two days ago, a happy surprise: We looked into the cage (via the video camera installed there) and beheld a vulture couple mating — a female 'sabra' (i.e., Israeli native) with a male from Armenia! And yesterday we were delighted to find that there was indeed an egg in the cage. Since the vultures seemed to have no interest in sitting on it, the egg was removed and taken to the incubator at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem to be hatched. Now all we can do is to wait and hope that the process will be successful, and that before long we'll have the privilege of seeing a vulture chick emerge from its shell — along with more eggs being laid in the cage.
With the generous assistance of Amir Arnon, head of Ramat Hanadiv's Wildlife Department, the vultures were photographed throughout the breeding process by the video monitors in our cage.