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Vulture alert for the air traffic over England

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Vulture alert for the air traffic over England

Old 20th Aug 2010, 23:37
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Vulture alert for the air traffic over England


Warnings were issued to air traffic over Scotland and England yesterday after a vulture which is capable of soaring at heights of more than 30,000 feet escaped during an air show.
Britain's air traffic control group to issue the warning. "We made pilots aware of the possibility of seeing this bird as it has a three-meter wingspan and can fly at altitudes used by commercial aircraft," a British air traffic control spokesman says to the Telegraph of London.

The bird a 7-year-old Ruppell's Vulture escaped and "has not been seen since she caught a warm thermal during a show at the World of Wings center in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, on Tuesday."
The vulture which is capable of soaring at great heights has been the star attraction at the air show since 2006, when she was brought from Africa to be part of a breeding programme.

The Rueppell's Griffon Vulture - which has a wingspan of 10ft - was flying in a display at World of Wings in Cumbernauld when it was caught in a gust of wind.

The bird's handlers could only watch as their star attraction flew higher in to the sky.

Now it is feared the seven-year-old female, named Gandalf, could pose a threat to aircraft.

National Air Traffic Services confirmed that pilots taking off and landing at Scottish airports had been warned about the vulture.

A spokeswoman added: "We have been alerted to this bird. Police are also involved."

A spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Authority said: "It can be quite serious. All the operators in the area have been notified.
The centre specialises in promoting the plight of vultures, which are becoming increasingly endangered across the world.
Gandalf is let loose to fly every day for members of the public, to show the birds "in their full glory".

Officials have warned anyone who might spot the bird to call authorities -- and to keep their distance.
"She has no fear of humans and she could give someone a very severe bite -- her beak is designed to tear flesh apart," David Ritchie, director of the attraction that includes Gandalf, tells the Telegraph.David Ritchie, director of the attraction, said: "These birds can soar higher than any other in the world, and have recorded heights of over 36,000ft.

"Gandalf is an absolute monster bird with a 10-and-a-half foot wingspan.

"She poses a genuine threat to airplanes."

Mr Ritchie said: "She was taking part in her daily display and started to soar. She got caught in the wind and just went higher and higher until she disappeared.

"She's never disappeared like this before in the four years she's been with us.

"She seemed to go off in the direction of Edinburgh or Stirling, but she was so high she could be anywhere.

"There have been no sightings since and we are very worried as we hand feed her and she may not survive more than a couple of days trying to fend for herself in the wild.

"We would warn people not to approach her but to call the police.

"We have informed the Scottish airports, the police, the Scottish SPCA, Edinburgh Zoo and Blair Drummond Safari Park."
And, while Britain has warned pilots in its airspace about the board, it sounds as though an encounter with Gandalf could be equally dangerousfor the people. "She has no fear of humans and she could give someone a very severe bite - her beak is designed to tear flesh apart.

Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii) is a large vulture that ranges across much of central Africa, including Ethiopia, the Sudan, Tanzania and Guinea. It is also known as Rüppell's Griffon, Rueppell's Vulture, Rüppell's Griffin Vulture, and similar variants, and is named in honor of the 19th-century German explorer, collector and zoologist Eduard Rüppell.
The Rüppell's Vulture also holds the record as the highest-flying bird -- a Ruppell's Vulture was sucked into a jet engine 37,730 feet above sea level.

Adults are close to a metre (3 ft) in length, with a wingspan of around 2.6 m (8.6 ft), and a weight that usually ranges between 7 and 9 kg (15–20 lb).
Both sexes are alike: mottled brown or black overall with a whitish-brown underbelly and thin, dirty-white fluff covering the head and neck. The base of the neck has a white collar, the eye is yellow or amber, the crop patch deep chocolate-brown.

Rüppell's Vultures are highly social, roosting, nesting, and gathering to feed in large flocks.
They can travel fast at need, cruising at up to 35 km/h, and will fly as far as 150 km from a nest site to find food. They can reach great heights, 6,000 m (20,000 ft) is not uncommon, and on one exceptional occasion, an aircraft over the Côte d'Ivoire collided with a Rüppell's Vulture at the astonishing altitude of 11,300 m (37,000 ft), the current record avian height.
They have a specialized variant of the hemoglobin alphaD subunit; this protein has a high affinity for oxygen, which allows the species to take up oxygen efficiently despite the low partial pressure in the upper troposphere.

They are creatures of the more arid and mountainous areas of Africa: particularly semi-desert and the fringes of deserts. They roost on inaccessible rock ledges if these are available, or in trees, usually Acacia. When thermal updrafts start to develop enough lift, about two hours after sunrise, Rüppell's Vultures leave the roost and begin to patrol over the plains, using their exceptionally keen eyesight to find large animal carcasses, or carnivores which have made a kill. They will wait, several days if necessary, until a carnivore leaves a carcass. They have been known to take live prey on occasion, but this is rare.

Rüppell's Vultures have several adaptations to their diet and are specialized feeders even among the Old World vultures of Africa. They have an especially powerful bill and, after the most attractive soft parts of a carcass have been consumed, they will continue with the hide, and even the bones, gorging themselves until they can barely fly. They have backward-facing splines on the tongue to help remove meat from bone.
noelbaba is offline  
Old 21st Aug 2010, 01:32
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so if she flew away very high, it means she went looking for litlle bit better food.
Old 21st Aug 2010, 02:44
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fly my pretty fly....
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 02:55
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Isn't this a bit OTT? Reeks of 'elf and safety gone made again and everyone covering their butts.

They are plentiful in Africa and South America for example and I never see an alert put out to that effect. Even if they did make it that high you would never see the things in any event. What avoiding action would you take? Is it TACS equipped?

Someone get a grip FFS.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 06:36
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She should have been equipped with a kind of GPS locator.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 06:43
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as firstchoice said...
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 10:25
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Spain is full of vultures, regularly soaring up to 10-15,000'. Not quite as big as the one in question but it would definitely hurt if you hit one. I had to lift a wing sharpish to avoid a pair of storks flying near Madrid - they're pretty substantial birds too, especially close up...
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 10:37
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I don't know how much more the industry can take.....Volcanic ash, strikes, and now...............A VULTURE. A solitary vulture patrolling the skies above Britain preying on unsuspecting aircraft. Shut it down guys, it's not safe up there anymore!

Got to be the funniest thing i've read in ages, thanks for the laughs
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 10:39
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a warm thermal
Ummm as opposed to...?
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 11:02
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Fitted with TCAS I trust?

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Old 21st Aug 2010, 11:11
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Nah, No TCAS, but it was squawking...
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 11:15
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No, don't call the police if you should see her. Find her a carcass (dog food would probably do at a pinch) and wish her bon voyage.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 11:35
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Avain threats

She's probably just gently winging it along one of the upper link routes as I type - If you happen to establish visual contact, gently wave your wings and she may squawk ident.

Not much carrion about at those sort of flight levels.

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Old 21st Aug 2010, 13:00
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It's now been identified as an 'older' purser.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 14:29
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It's now been identified as an 'older' purser.
That never managed to find a RAB ?
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 14:49
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Ummm as opposed to...?
Thermals aren't necessarily warm. They're just warmer.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 14:57
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World of Wings - Find Gandalf
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 14:57
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Spain is full of vultures,

For the past few years a couple of handlers have turned up and flown a vulture over the heads of diners at the "Sopar" or Dinner of the Festival de Troubadours, Castello d'Empurias. They are pretty big birds, indeed.

Each table at the Sopar seats about 100 people, the birds are flown from end to end, and tend lose a bit of altitude around the middle of the table and fly up and out of the dip when they realise that they are about to crashland among the wine and bread etc.

Last year one made an abrupt 90º to port and disappeared into the kitchens (oxen roasting on spits) where it caused quite a stir among the cooks.

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Old 21st Aug 2010, 18:10
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Gandalf is let loose to fly every day
well they got that bit wrong. Maybe she'll come back to greet the pope - if only out of professional courtesy.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 22:45
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Found it!!!

Image re-uploaded and re-sized by your friendly neighbourhoood Mods.
Pls read the RoE re. picture size Halo.

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