Kings of the Air Genuinely majestic.
5661 Rauris, Österreich
near Almgasthaus Lechnerhäusl
"In Rauris’ Krumltal, the Valley of Vultures inside Hohe Tauern National Park, the “kings of the air” inscribe broad circles upon the skies: With just a little bit of luck, golden eagles, griffon vultures and bearded vultures can be observed in free flight with the help of binoculars. And during the bird-of-prey show at the Hochalm, you are able to admire falcons, owls and eagles up-close.
Rauris’ Krumltal, an untamed, romantic side valley of the Rauris Valley, was selected in 1986 as the site for reintroduction of bearded vultures, a species that had already been wiped out in the area. Furthermore, this side valley also boasts one of the densest populations of golden eagles in all of Austria.
On the “Kings of the Air” theme path through Krumltal, info boards teach you fascinating facts about these imposing birds of prey, which have found such an ideal habitat here between waterfalls, boulders and alpine meadows.
White strips of bird droppings on the rock faces, which are often colonized by orangey-red crustose lichen, make the roosting ledges of these animals clearly visible. The rock faces are also known as the “Red Walls”. +
The easy hike takes you in around 1.5 hours past the Kasermandl Spring to the Bräualm, where refreshments are available. Aside from birds of prey, you might well discover other wild animals such as chamois, marmots and ibex.
With the aid of the experience brought by the National Park Ranger him- or herself, and equipped with binoculars or a spotting scope, the chances of observing birds of prey during a National Park Excursion in Hohe Tauern National Park are actually very good.
|Dates:||Every Wednesday from 15.07. to 09.09.2020|
|Meets:||Krumltal car park at 8:45 a.m., returns ca. 1 p.m.|
|Fees:||Guests with Guest Card, National Park Card or Hohe Tauern Card free.|
|Total walking time:||3 hours (400-meter vertical gain)|
|Requirements:||Moderately difficult summer excursion. Hiking or mountain shoes with a good tread are required..|
At the interactive exhibition in Wörth, a community which is part of Rauris, amongst other things you will learn why bearded vultures preen themselves and see how golden eagles hunt. Fascinating films provide insights into the private lives of these birds of prey. Amongst other things, children playfully learn how large these mighty birds in the Hohe Tauern truly are, and what the eagles and vultures feed on.
29 May to 30 June 2020: daily from 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
01 July to 06 September 2020: daily from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
07 September to 26 October 2020: daily from 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Winter: Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m.
Kings of the Air in Rauris Valley - A Portrait
He is the undisputed ruler of the Alps and King of the Air. The golden eagle is a bird of prey as much as 90 cm in size, with dark plumage, except for hints of golden yellow on the neck and head. The golden-yellow coloring, not surprisingly, gave the golden eagle its name. In many different cultures, this bird of prey was regarded as the embodiment of power and strength.
With power and skill, this surprise hunter swoops down upon its prey, sometimes animals that are significantly heavier than itself. The golden eagle can reach a wing span of around 2.3 meters, with males generally ca. 10 - 20 cm smaller than females. Rauris’ Krumltal boasts one of the densest populations of golden eagles in the Hohe Tauern mountains.
Large specimens of the bearded vulture hit the scales at up to seven kilograms. Their wing span of up to 2.9 meters makes them outstanding gliders, as well as the biggest birds of prey in the Alps. Anyone who has ever observed a fully grown bearded vulture in flight won’t soon forget the impressive sight. Bearded vultures are scavengers, generally feeding on carrion that other scavengers have left behind. Their food consists of around 80 percent bones. The animals drop larger bones from great heights onto the rocks far below, causing them to splinter.
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Quite unjustly, the carrion-eating bearded vulture has been blamed for killing chamois and scavenging upon lambs. As a consequence, over the course of the 19th century this mighty bird of prey was wiped out in the Alps. In Europe, these animals survived in the Pyrenees, on Corsica and on Crete. Even so, the populations there are extremely endangered.
Alpenzoo Innsbruck succeeded in rearing the first bearded vultures in captivity, in an aviary with the help of a foster bird. This was the foundation of the bearded-vulture project, a significant contribution to one of the most important programs aimed at preserving an endangered species. Due to regular breeding successes, in 1978 it was possible to found an international project for reintroduction of the bearded vulture here in the Alps. The foremost goal of the project was to establish a colony that was able to survive without human intervention. A commission of international experts selected four release locations in the Alps – including Krumltal in Rauris, where four bearded vultures were first released in 1986: Hans, Fritz, Ellen and Winnie. Up to today, around 150 animals have been released into the wild across the Alps, 45 of those in Hohe Tauern National Park – and of those, 29 in Rauris‘ Krumltal.
The griffon vulture is a social animal and lives in large colonies. In groups, these scavengers set out from cliffs where they roost overnight – in essence their communication center – on flights in search of food. These raptors reach a wing span of up to 2.8 meters and a weight of as much as 12 kilograms.
The high density of grazing cattle and wildlife means we are fortunate to greet griffon vultures here every springtime as they arrive for their summer “getaway”. These particular summer guests are non-breeders and adolescent birds from the north-western Balkan peninsular. Over 90 griffon vultures were counted in Rauris Valley in summer 2013.