Bocian Biały w dolinach rzek

1These objects pose a huge threat to birds, especially in areas where birds travel intensively during migration. To increase the visibility of wires, colorful markers with reflectors were suspended on the highest, lightning protection line using a drone; the markers whirl freely in the wind. The first line, over 700 m long, running over the Narew River near the village of Ruś, was secured in 2018. Before and after the suspension of markers, we monitored the effectiveness of protection (using a radar); the results indicate that birds flying through the valley in large flocks, such as ruffs, notice the wires and change their flight path once the markers are installed. By now, three more sections have been secured: (1) Biebrza Valley near Sztabin and (2) Osowiec, and (3) Narew River Valley near the village of Narew.

Task C.2 was performed in cooperation with PGE Dystrybucja S.A. Białystok Branch and the Biebrza National Park



A lot of work and completed tasks are already behind us. We have gained a lot of interesting experience and knowledge, so it is time for summaries. On 16-17 November 2019, the "International conference on the protection of the white stork" was held. At the meeting we summarized the project and the latest knowledge about the white stork, including in particular the issues related to the practical conservation of the species. Among the speakers, apart from the project workers, there were representatives of institutes and universities from Poland and abroad, as well as members of the White Stork Research Group. On Sunday we invited the participants to the field part, where we presented some of the tasks completed within the project, such as nests moved from endangered locations, electrical equipment protected against electric shock, retrofitted and renovated Animal Rehabilitation Center in Grzędy in the Biebrza National Park. Taking advantage of the favorable circumstances of nature, we went for a walk along the educational path Dunes on the Red Swamp. We would like to thank the speakers for their very interesting speeches and all the participants for their valuable comments and fruitful discussions.


In 2019 we visited the “AQUILA a-LIFE - Accomplish Western Mediterranean Bonelli's Eagle recovery by working together for an electricity grid suitable for birds” LIFE 16 NAT/ES/000235 project implemented throughout Spain, in a part of France and in Sardinia.

The main beneficiary of the project is the non-governmental organization GREFA (Grupo de Rehabilitacion de la Fauna Autoctona y su Habitat) – The team dealing with the restitution of native fauna and the environment employs over 30 people, and its activities are also supported by a group of volunteers. This institution runs a large animal rehabilitation center near Madrid. Several thousand birds, mammals and reptiles are being brought there annually, including foxes, rabbits, hares, red and roe deers, hedgehogs, turtles, and birds such as white storks, young swifts in large numbers (up to 3000 individuals) and predators: buzzards, vultures, owls. The center is huge, located in a few buildings on an area of approx. 10 hectares. There is a hospital and aviaries for treated and rehabilitated animals, rooms for ecological education, aviaries for handicapped birds, which will stay here for the rest of their lives, such as griffon and cireneous vultures, barn owls, lesser kestrels, golden and imperial eagles, Egyptian vulture, Bonelli’s eagle and short-toed snake eagle, Eurasian pygmy owl. Therefore there are many things to see. Moreover, birds are placed in interesting arrangements, reminiscent of places where they normally occur, e.g. an old abandoned house for barn owls or a rural farmyard for kestrels.

Storks treated in Biebrza National Park rehabilitation center in Grzędy will be tracked this year as well.

This time, tracking devices were put on three young birds. The goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of stork treatment in such centers, and their behavior after leaving them.

Unfortunately, I do not bring any good news: so far none of the birds have reached Africa. They all either died on power lines or were killed by predators. The mounted tracking devices are the "recovered" ones. We asked our befriended ornithologists from other countries to search for dead storks and send us the attached transmitters back, or if the birds died in Poland, we looked for them ourselves.

This bleak picture shows the enormous importance of the Life project, which aims to secure all dangerous utility poles.

We hope that a successful flight awaits those three! Keep your fingers crossed!


nadajniki1nadajniki 2nadajniki 3

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.


gniazdeczkoco bocian maco bocian ma1robalwaganowe gniazdo


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.


Sekretariat PTOP

ul. Ciepła 17 15-471 Białystok tel./fax.: 85 664 22 55, 85 6754862 Ten adres pocztowy jest chroniony przed spamowaniem. Aby go zobaczyć, konieczne jest włączenie w przeglądarce obsługi JavaScript.

Biuro Regionalne w Olsztynie

ul. Murzynowskiego 18, 10-684 Olsztyn, tel./fax.: 89 533 68 66 Ten adres pocztowy jest chroniony przed spamowaniem. Aby go zobaczyć, konieczne jest włączenie w przeglądarce obsługi JavaScript.

Gospodarstwo rolne PTOP

Żywkowo 7 11-220 Górowo Iławeckie tel./fax.: 89 761 82 07 Ten adres pocztowy jest chroniony przed spamowaniem. Aby go zobaczyć, konieczne jest włączenie w przeglądarce obsługi JavaScript.