© Mihail Iliev

A month and a half after the young Lesser Spotted Eagle Iliya, from the village of Alexandria in Dobrich, Bulgaria, embarked on its long journey from Africa to Bulgaria, it is still not home. All the other tagged eagles, thanks to the “Lafe for Eagles’ Habitats” project, have already returned, but Iliya continues to travel. For several weeks, he has been flying around the area near the city of Eskisehir, and according to ornithologist Dr. Dimitar Demerdzhiev from the BSPB, the bird has found enough food to keep it in the territory of Turkey, but that does not mean it won’t come home.

In addition to the area of the Turkish Venice, as Eskisehir is called, the little Bulgarian traveler took a detour to the sea for two days, exploring the beaches of Heraclea Pontica, Zonguldak, and Amasra on June 17th and 18th. Then it flew close to the Turkish capital, Ankara, and returned to the places where it apparently finds food. Dimitar Demerdzhiev shared with all those who follow Iliya’s flights that the eaglet is doing well, and its vital signs are excellent. According to him, there is no reason to worry, and the curious bird will come to Bulgaria sooner or later.

© Iordanka Lukanova

While everyone involved in the “Lafe for Eagles’ Habitats” project is observing Iliya, a new little bird hatched in the nest where it first appeared last year. Witnessing this truly unique moment was Nikolay Terziev from the BSPB, who happened to be in the right place at the right time. While changing the memory card and batteries of the camera trap set up by scientists in the nest, Niki heard the faint chirping of the little eaglet and witnessed its efforts to break the shell of the egg. We are yet to find out if another traveler from Dobrudzha will embark on a journey to Africa at the end of summer.