Bocian Biały w dolinach rzek

kulkiCan you guess what those big balls the ornithologist is holding are?

These are White Stork pellets! Yes, they are that big. What are they? It is a mass of undigested and regurgitated food, mainly bones, hair, feathers and insect shells. Do you see those iridescent fragments? Those are crushed beetle shells.

Why are we collecting them? This is yet another element of our research conducted in the Life project, whose aim is to protect the species. Our goal is to study the diet of white storks nesting in the Narew and Biebrza valleys so that we may better protect them in the future.

Results will be known soon. The pellets are now in the laboratory to be dissected and tested by our specialists. As soon as we receive any information about the diets of our storks, we will surely share the news.

The most dire time for young storks has just begun. Why? For most storks, their first flight will be their last. Some will die in a few days, and the majority in the next 2-3 months. Only 2 out of 10 birds will survive their first migration!

What is that so? Electric power grids pose the greatest threat to the stork population. They are responsible for the deaths of up to 60% of first-year birds. This is why, in our White Stork Protection Project carried out from the Life Fund, we secure the most dangerous elements of the power grid in 9 Natura 2000 areas in north-eastern Poland.

Some of the birds found recently can be seen below. It is saddening. The locations of the most dangerous poles will soon be transferred by us to the cooperating Białystok Branch of PGE Dystrybucja S.A. (PGE Group), and then secured with equipment specially designed by us for this purpose and constructed by HUBIX - live working. Our field research has confirmed the 100% effectiveness of this method. And most importantly, it is 10 times cheaper than the previous solution, i.e. the rebuilding of the pole.

If you see a dead stork by a utility pole, contact the nearest energy company and indicate this solution.

PS How do you find this idea?


Under each relocated white stork nest we hang 3 A-type nest boxes. We have placed almost a 1000, and they are all taken! In this one, the tree sparrows are raising their second clutch.

How about you? Do you hang birdhouses? Are they still occupied?


nagrody bociani konkursfotograficznyIn June this year The Łomża National Park of the Narew Valley in Drozdowo has announced a nationwide photographic competition under the title “White Stork”. This competition is part of the project “Protection of the White Stork in river valleys of the eastern Poland” LIFE15 NAT/PL/000728 - LIFEciconiaPL co-financed by the European Union and the German foundation Vogelschutz-Komitee e.V.
the details of the project can be found on the website:
Photos have begun to flow in from all over the country to the seat of the Park in Drozdowo, showing how graceful a model a Stork can be. Wading, feeding, flying, sitting... - no situation from the life of the Stork escaped the attention of the photographers. The jury consisting of: Zdzisław Folga, Anna Bureś, Marek Maliszewski had quite a problem with choosing the most interesting shots. After long deliberations it was decided to award three main prizes and six honorable mentions.

On 27 February, we completed the works related to the subsequent stage of the implementation of task C.1. We moved 107 nests to the new poles, 72 out of which we measured and weighed. The heaviest of them weighed 1348 kg, and the average weight was 383 kg. We have collected this data to create a calculator in which, after entering the height of the nest, you will be able to approximately determine its weight. This is very useful information. In particular, PGE employees and owners of buildings with Stork nests should be pleased with the calculator, as it will allow them to estimate the consequences of leaving excessively large nests behind, e.g. a roof ridge collapse or tilting of a platform on a power pole. We also checked the Stork's gathering skills. In the nest we found many interesting things such as: foils, strings, tights, pet bottles, gloves and even artificial flowers. We also found karyophage larvae in several places.


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Winter is coming. More and more people who are sensitive to the fate of animals are worried about the situation of storks which have not flown to wintering grounds in Africa. That's why we decided to prepare information on this subject in order to clarify a few issues related to this topic and to debunk some myths. Is there really anything to worry about? We encourage you to read the text below.

Based on observations made in recent years, it seems that recently the phenomenon of storks staying in our country has started to intensify. Is it really so? It is not known, because it can simply be an effect of faster and further spreading of information on this topic (e.g. through social media). This phenomenon has indeed occurred in Portugal and Spain, where some birds no longer migrate at all.

A recent study carried out in Germany using GPS-GSM transmitters, which were fixed to young birds, showed that all the individuals which tried to winter in Europe survived. Almost 40% of the storks who flew to wintering grounds in Africa for the winter died. This is also confirmed by the studies of PTOP (Polish Bird Protection Society) and many other scientists from Poland, who follow the migration using GPS-GSM transmitters. The majority of the birds do not reach the wintering grounds and die along the way on power lines. This is how almost all of our storks, healed in rehabilitation centers, fitted with transmitters in the years 2017-2018, ended their lives.

Food is scarce during winter. However, the last winters, during which the snow cover only lingers for 1-4 weeks, make it easier to find something to eat. There is not much of it, sometimes a vole or a carrion, leftovers from a landfill site, but with economical use of energy (little movement, a lot of rest), it is often enough. That is why many birds, not only storks, are "dulled" on frosty days. It is not, however, a sign of their weakness or illness, but a way to survive the winter. Attempts to catch storks during this period may harm them rather than help them. The loss of energy while escaping from the "rescuers" can lead to death during a freezing night.

Another frequently discussed aspect is the cold and the likelihood of a stork’s freezing. The feathers, or actually the air stored between them, is the best thermal insulator in the world. Let's not forget which jackets are the warmest during cold winters. Of course, down jackets! But there are also legs that are usually not feathered. Birds have a different cardiovascular system than humans. The special arrangement of blood vessels in the leg causes the hot arterial blood to be cooled by the venous one, and the other way round - the venous blood is heated by the arterial one. As a result, the returning blood does not cool the organism, and the temperature difference between the blood reaching the legs and the environment is small, which reduces the loss of heat, and a smaller temperature amplitude mitigates the feeling of cold. An additional solution for coping with the cold is to reduce blood flow by shrinking blood vessels. There is still a beak left.

This organ is not supplied with blood as it is made of corneous tissue, therefore its freezing is not possible. The truth is that if it were not for the lack of food in winter, many storks would not go to the so-called warm countries, where they fly not for the purpose of warming up, but to have something to eat.
So when should we intervene and try to help a wintering stork? First of all, we should observe such an individual. If it flies and moves easily, there is no need to intervene. We also should not feed such birds, because they get used to the feed and will not try to migrate to other warmer regions when the cold comes and the snow falls. In addition, feeding proper food is very expensive for the person who decides to do so. Only storks showing clear signs of weakness or injury should be caught and transferred to rehabilitation centers, and this decision should be made after careful prior observation of the wintering stork.


We have started the next stage of task C.2. Do you remember how, in spring, we studied the birds' migration over the high-voltage line in the Ruś locality with the help of a radar? At this point, the line crosses the Narew River, to which the Biebrza River flows a few hundred meters away. We would like to remind you that the radar monitoring was aimed at assessing the threat posed by this part of the power line in connection with fatal collisions, prior to the installation of markers for birds. A few days ago ELTEL Networks Energetyka S.A. installed FireFly type markers on the lightning conductor, using a drone specially designed for this purpose. These small rotating and reflective devices are designed to increase the visibility of cables. Preliminary research confirmed their high effectiveness in the protection of birds against collisions with overhead power networks. Next year, we will use the radar again to examine the effectiveness of the measures taken. This is the first research of its kind in the world using a radar and one of the first applications of a drone to secure high-voltage lines in order to protect birds.


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Between 2-7.10. 2018 combined stork crews from the Biebrza National Park, the Łomża National Park of the Narew Valley and the PTOP stayed in Portugal and western Spain. The trip took place as part of the task F.4 Creating a network with other projects. We had the opportunity to see how the local, probably the largest population of storks in the world is coping and to meet with representatives of organizations carrying out similar activities to those we are carrying out in our project. In that area, the threat from power lines has long been identified as significantly increasing the mortality of many species of birds, not only the common storks, but also claw-birds present in large numbers on the Iberian Peninsula. The #LigaparaaProtecção and #AssociaçãoTransumãnciaeNatureza associations have impressed us with their protections installed on thousands of high-voltage poles, which protect birds from shock, and many kilometers of power lines with fixed markers, making them much more visible to birds. Since some of these devices were already installed several years ago, our Portuguese colleagues were able to boast a great deal of knowledge about the effectiveness and durability of individual solutions. For inquisitive people who want to know the details of these projects, we provide the numbers: LIFE14 NAT/PT/000855 and LIFE13 NAT/PT/001300. We, in turn, surprised them with the use of radar to assess line collision and the quick and inexpensive installation of markers on lines using a specialist drone.

In addition to the meetings, we visited a Spanish stork village - Caseres, not far from Portugal. It is worth noting that storks are completely indiscriminate when it comes to the choice of nesting place, they commonly occupy: high voltage poles, all types of roofs - including flat roofs, they gratefully accept platforms, regardless of the density and quality of workmanship, or - as in this village - they occupy boulders and rocks!


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The results of our research, carried out in the Life project concerning the protection of the white stork, were presented at the 27th International Ornithological Congress in Vancouver! Our colleague Adam Zbyryt presented the data collected during the last relocation of nests, where most of the removed nests were accurately measured and weighed. The Congress also included 2000 delegates from all over the world, 7 days of great lectures by the best scientists in the world, exhibitions of artists, including indigenous ones, presenting traditional products, stands of optical and telemetric equipment manufacturers, concerts and many other attractions. Our presence at this event was marked twice: first in the form of a scientific poster, and secondly during a lecture on the wanderings of black-tailed godwits given by Dutch scientists, with whom we cooperated within the framework of joint research


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... and soon most of them will fly south, through the Bosporus Strait to South Africa. We keep our fingers crossed for them.
In July, when young birds were still in nests, we monitored the breeding success of storks nesting in Natura 2000 areas located in the valleys of the rivers: Narew, Bug, Biebrza, Omulew (Narew tributary) and Liwiec (Bug tributary). We checked more than 2000 nests: working in 3 two-person teams, we drove almost 8000 km. We counted birds from the ground and from the air: using a throne.
We spent two weeks in the field - the period when we count storks is short. If we start too early we won't see the young, which are lying in the middle of the nest and are practically invisible from the ground, and if counting is prolonged some of the birds can already start flying. Small chicks can be clearly seen from the throne - in such situations we are supported by modern technology, and on July 13th we already had the first flying young in the Narew valley, luckily they kept close to the nest.
It is a great pleasure for us to visit places where we replaced the endangered nests with new ones and we see that they are occupied by storks.
A note with the results of the monitoring will soon be published on our project website. We will see how this year's breeding success came out. Due to the fact that the Summer was dry and hot, we were afraid that storks had too little food. However, it is also possible that in the area monitored by us, the proximity of the river eliminated the impact of drought, and the lack of storms, gusty winds and squalls protected the nests and the young from destruction. According to preliminary observations, there were many nests with 4 and 5 young ones. We even found one nest with 6 birds, in Izbiszcze in Natura area - the Narew Marshy Valley! Whether storks brought up more chicks compared to the previous year - we will find out after summarizing and comparing the data.

bocianBronowo. Narew Valley.Dron „flights to work”Every nest it Każde gniazdo wprowadzamy do bazy interenetowej wraz z danymi o połozeniu GPS ale dane zapisujemy też w sposób tradycyjny - analogowo na papierze.Ornithologist and the object of monitoring.A very big nest, placed at a roof of an old building, Mordy town, Liwiec valley.PTOP team wearing „formal, working t-shirts”. Korczew, Bug valley.Nest moved to the new pole at the begining of 2018. Accepted by storks the same spring: 4 young in the nest. Nesting boxes for sparrows also occupied. Ścięciel, Omulew valley.Nest with 6 young storks. Izbiszcza, Bagienna Dolina Narwi.

Sekretariat PTOP

ul. Ciepła 17 15-471 Białystok tel./fax.: 85 664 22 55, 85 6754862

Biuro Regionalne w Olsztynie

ul. Murzynowskiego 18, 10-684 Olsztyn, tel./fax.: 89 533 68 66

Gospodarstwo rolne PTOP

Żywkowo 7 11-220 Górowo Iławeckie tel./fax.: 89 761 82 07