Bocian Biały w dolinach rzek

1The village of Rakowo Czachy near Łomża has been enriched with a fourth tourist attraction. So far it had three: a bend of the Narew River with a forest on the horizon, a ferry across the river and storks in the nest, which have been watched on-line by people from 90 countries from around the world. Meanwhile in the neighborhood, on the last day of January, an observation tower, lofty and strong like a fortress and almost 8-meter high, was consecrated and sprinkled with holy water and rain. It stands over a wide – 2 and a half kilometers – section of the Narew Valley. It shines with healthy pine wood, used to erect the structure, and enables the local residents and tourists to admire the quiet landscapes from the high terrace while watching local and migrating birds flying over the meadows. On the day of consecration, naturalists came to Rakowo and Drozdowo.

Director Mariusz Sachmaciński from the Łomża Landscape Park of the Narew Valley (Łomżyński Park Krajobrazowy Doliny Narwi) stood bravely in the pouring rain as subsequent guests were coming. The list of people who love nature and care about the environment was long, and the director said a few good words about each one of them. The event gathered employees and social activists from, among others, the Landscape Park of the Narew Valley and the Association of the Friends of the Park, the Board of the Landscape Park of the Narew Valley with its chairman Józef Mioduszewski, from the Natural History Museum with the naturalist Teresa Grużewska, from the Łomża State Forest District with the forest district manager Dariusz Godlewski, from the Association of the Friends of the Łomża Land with its chairman Zygmunt Zdanowicz. Among the people from Łomża and the district, it was easy to notice the faces of people, less known but significant for the care of the natural heritage, from the Environmental Protection Department of the Marshal's Office, in the absence of Marek Olbryś, whom Director Sachmaciński gratefully described as “brilliant”. He referred to the fact that according to the project the observation tower in Rakowo was to cost PLN 70 thousand, and in fact it cost PLN 105 thousand, and the missing money was found in the budget, as if from a magic hat, by a member of the Board of the Province.

A nest from a barn or a tree to a pole

The project was described to the guests, hidden under the green tent of the Park of the Narew Valley, by the invaluable Sylwia Sokalska, who provided a lot of information about the Park of the Narew Valley, which was created in 1994 and has an area of 7 368 hectares. The project consisted of many activities which performed over a period of 4 years, and it was initiated by the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds (PTOP) in Białystok in 2016 and will be conducted until July 2020 in cooperation with the Park of the Narew Valley and the Biebrza National Park (Biebrzański Park Narodowy). - The project "Protection of white stork in the river valleys of eastern Poland" covers Biebrza, Bug and Narew rivers as well as some smaller rivers – says Edyta Kapowicz, director of the PTOP, who came to the ceremony with employees of the Society that is so merited for the protection and care of birds. - The protection of storks means, for example, moving 400 of their nests from endangered places, such as dilapidated buildings or broken trees to concrete poles, which were erected in a number of 300... They must be strong and durable, as stork nests sometimes weigh 300 kilograms, and sometimes even two tons.

9 poles with a height of over 10 m to 12 m were erected in Kalinowo, Drozdowo, Rakowo Czachy, Rakowo Boginie, Bronowo Podkosacze and Siemień. Under the project, also the wooden tower in Rakowo Czachy near the bend of the Narew River was financed, from where you can see the ski slope in Rybno on the right side above the forest range. It will constitute a convenient point for observation of, for example, white-tailed eagles, geese, ducks, ruffs or herons, if an observer is lucky enough, just like 700 thousand observers of white storks in the nest on a nearby property, but not in winter.

Outdoor area for patients and the path to knowledge

Before the green ribbon was cut multiple times, which inaugurated the entrance by stairs from the ground floor to the tower floor with dimensions of 5.5 x 4 meters, a speech on integral ecology was given by Rev. Aleksander Suchocki. He emphasized that blessing has the direction from Earth to Heaven and from Heaven to Earth. In the act of consecration of the tower, he indicated the respect for nature and birds, so that the structure would be safe and serve the good work of getting to know the native land, and so that the visitors would leave enriched by beauty.

At the headquarters of the Park of the Narew Valley in Drozdowo there is a unique bird rehabilitation center where sick, injured or weakened storks can find shelter, care and food. During the renovation, the center was expanded with an ambulatory part, furniture, as well as veterinary and stork catching equipment, such as gloves, nets and transport cages. Near the entrance, an aviary and an outdoor area for stork patients and convalescents were created; the number of birds here sometimes reaches 50-60 including other birds. Director Mariusz Sachmaciński thanked his crew for being on duty on Saturdays and Sundays to feed the winged patients. The educational path that shows the life of storks, an Indian summer, a beaver lodge and a swamp also aroused interest. It serves the little and grown-up nature explorers.

The author: Mirosław R. Derewońko

The text and pictures are from the website

The second account from the opening of the tower can be found on the website

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

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