The Northern Bald Ibis (Waldrapp) was hunted to extinction in the 17th century. This migration bird is one of the most endangered bird species worldwide. Partners in Austria, Germany and Italy try to reintroduce this bird in its natural habitat. Meanwhile 120 Northern Bald Ibisses migrate between the summer area in the northern foothills of the Alps and the wintering area in the Tuscany. With a weight of 1-1.5 kg and a wingspan of up to 1.25 m they are not gigantic birds, but they have at least a fierce looking appearance. Characteristics are bald head, red legs and red, curved and slim beak. This "skinheads" are no scavengers: their prey are mainly earthworms and insect larvae.
I photographed this Bald Ibis at Tiergarten Schönbrunn. They live in the old cages for vultures, which are close to the preferred natural habitat - rock cliffs with niches.
Since 2004 Burghausen in Germany/Bavaria is a location of the Northern-Bald-Ibis project, it’s also the home of the world longest castle (1051 m). The breeding area is nearby the Pulverturm. I visited the castle not only for its historic significance, but also for this bird population.
I tried to squeeze my visit into my already full schedule. It was the day o f a grand opening of an exhibition nearby. So I was in "full dress code". I don’t want to think about my feet, which are used to Doc Martens and were forced into high heels for this occasion. I nearly crawled like a toddler - around and through the gigantic medieval castle (incl. its outer perimeter).
By the way, I haven’t seen a single Bald Ibis around the castle. Maybe I scared them away, because the rest of me was forced into a shapely "little pink".