Hello, I am Nika Budagashvili, 24 years old keen birder from Georgia, Tbilisi. I grew up in a village and always had a special interest in birds since my childhood, so I decided to become an ornithologist. I have started learning birds and always try to go birding somewhere when I have a free time. Birding is a source of pleasure for me.
I recieved my Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and currently studying to obtain a Masters’ degree in Ecology at Ilia State University in Tbilisi. I have a relevant work experience in ornithological fieldwork and bird conservation. I was working on several conservation projects in Georgia such as Conservation of
Velvet Scoter on Tabatskuri lake and Raptors Conservation Project in western Georgia. I was organising and implementing awareness raising activities and data collecting work in the field.
It’s been already more than two months I moved to the beautiful island Cres, where I volunteer in Beli Visitors Centre and Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures. Mostly we work at the visitors centre and welcome visitors, give them some information about Griffon vultures which are in the centre at the moment and about breeding Griffon vultures on the island as general. I’ve also been
doing several monitoring on nesting Griffon vultures to find out how sensitive they are from human disturbance during the tourist season. During volunteering here I have also found out what does the artificial feeder for carrion-eaters look like. There are about 70 pairs of Griffon vultures on the island but food resources are not enough for them, so we have to bring carrion for them on the
feeding place to preserve the stable and healthy population.
We have six young Griffon vultures in the rehabilitation centre at the moment. They all fell in the sea, some of them probably because of human disturbance. Luckily they were seen, saved and brought in our Rescue Centre. We have done health check of all six of them, took blood samples, measure their weight and now we are waiting for the results to decide whether they are ready to continue their lives independently and find food on
their own. All of them have rings on their legs with unique numbers so we will wait for them to be recorded on our camera trap on our artificial feeder.
I hope the experience I have gained during volunteering in the project will be useful and will have a positive effect in my future career.”
/ Nika is a participant of the Island Birds project implemented by the BIOM Association as part of the European Solidarity Corps program. /