Bocian Biały w dolinach rzek

As part of task F.4 "Creating a networking with other projects", we organized our first study trip to Bulgaria. The trip took place on 25-30 September, with the participation of employees of the PTOP - 6 people, and of the Biebrza National Park - 1 person, and of the Łomża Landscape Park of the Narew Valley - 1 person as well.

The first project we visited was "Life for the Burgas lakes", carried out in the Burgas city area on the Black Sea coast by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. There are extensive, shallow lagoons in this area, which are a very important resting point for the 1.5 million migratory birds flying over the area on their way south every year. 333 of the 420 species seen in Bulgaria can be observed in this area. This project included i.a. the collision protection of power lines, the task is analogous to the activities carried out in our stork project. Project website:, LIFE08NAT/BG/000277.

Another project that we visited was "Life for safe grid", conducted by the EVN, a company that produces and supplies electricity. The main aim of the project was also to protect power lines against collisions. The priority species here is the Eastern imperial eagle, a bird particularly vulnerable to collisions with these devices. The eagle's population is 29 couples throughout entire Bulgaria, and it is another project in Bulgaria which aims to protect these birds under the LIFE programme. We were very lucky enough to see two specimens! EVN employees, our field guides, have only seen these birds several times. Official website of the project:, LIFE12 NAT/BG/000572.

On the third day we met with representatives of the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation to get acquainted with the "Salt of Life” project. This task is carried out in the area of one of the lagoons with the highest salinity of water - over 22%. In this place, a part of the water is enclosed with special wooden partitions, forming tanks from which cooking salt is extracted. The Foundation is renovating the system of these barriers and is rebuilding the rainwater drainage channels in order to preserve this unique European ecosystem. In this area, the Pied avocet is protected in particular, and we had the pleasure of observing groups of Flamingos, Dalmatian pelicans and several thousand birds of prey, including over a thousand Lesser spotted eagles, during an hour-long observation. Project website:, LIFE11 NAT/BG/000362.

On the last day of our trip to Bulgaria we visited the White stork village Belozem, located in the central part of the country. The village is surrounded by vast plains with arable fields, the landscape is very different from wet meadows, the places of foraging of White storks in northeastern Poland. Belozem's trademark is a primary school building located in the centre of the village, with several nests on its red roof. Apparently, for many years the school management has been concerned about the preservation of the Stork population, because we have not found a single nest on roofs of other buildings, including private houses covered with red tiles. Single nests are located on power poles and on the church tower. A festival dedicated to White storks takes place every year in Belozem. You can find more information on theis event here:

The task was carried out within the project "Protection of the white stork in river valleys of the eastern Poland" LIFEciconiaPL LIFE15 NAT/PL/000728 co-financed by the European Commission from the LIFE Programme and the Vogelschutz Komitet e.V. programme.


ogolWhen writing the project for the protection of the white stork for the LIFE fund, we decided that an extremely important action that needs to be included in its framework, is training a wide group of stakeholders, consisting of employees of local governments, energy companies, veterinarians, members of volunteer fire brigades, ornithologists, i.e. people who in their work encounter problems connected with this species every day. In order for the knowledge gained at these meetings not to be forgotten, and that it could also reach a wider audience, we made a decision that it should be perpetuated, and the best solution for this is to create a handbook containing all the most important issues. Imagine our surprise when it turned out that such a study already exists! It was created in 2012 by our friends from the Wildlife Society "Stork". Then, why reinvent the wheel. We asked them if it were possible to complete and reprint the study, as it seemed to us the most appropriate and natural solution. We obtained consent, for which we are extremely grateful and we would like to extend our thanks to them.

The handbook, available on the project website in the tab PUBLICATIONS, is a well-written compendium of knowledge, created by experienced specialists: ornithologists, officials and veterinarians, who often combine these professions. This guarantees that the presented topics are widely analysed and contain a set of best practices. Here, you will find everything that thus far required painstaking research in literature, the Internet, or the need to reach a specialist in a given field - from the construction of a nesting platform, through helping the injured and sick birds, legal issues, to wintering storks.


The LIFE project team

The Polish Society for Bird Protection

In 2016 we started an inventory of white stork nests built by the birds on the roofs of residential and farm buildings on properties where the owners wanted to move the nest from the roof to the pole and on old standalone poles, which might collapse. This year the first batch of nests has been moved onto new concrete poles. To increase the likelihood that the replacement will be accepted by storks, some material from the old nest was placed on the platform. Due to the process of moving the material, niches occupied by sparrows and tree sparrows were also destroyed, and we offer them new nesting spaces - wooden nesting boxes attached to the pole directly below the platform.

The first nests are moved in Natura 2000 areas in river valleys of: Bug, Narew, Biebrza and Omulew. When commissioning the executed works, I was able to admire the huge overflow area of the Omulew river, frozen at this time of year. I hope that I will have the opportunity to see the same area in the spring. The photos show the procedure of mounting the posts.

The task has been carried out within the framework of the project entitled: “Protection of the white stork in river valleys of eastern Poland", LIFEciconiaPL, no. LIFE15 NAT/PL/000728. The project is implemented by the Polish Society for Bird Protection, together with Biebrza National Park and Łomża Landscape Park of the Narew Valley. The project is co-financed by the European Union under the LIFE program and by the German foundation Vogelschutz-Komitee e.V

Gabriela Kułakowska

Gniazdo na stodole zagraża konstrukcji budynkuLutostanGniazdo na dachu, który właściciel domu chce remontowaćScieciel_zabezpieczony_dach_domuGniazdo na nowym słupieRozlewiska rzeki OmulewPrzenoszenie części gniazda na nowa platformęBudki dla wróblaków

okladkaWe have a new calendar for 2017 with beautiful watercolour paintings of the white stork by Marek Kołodziejczyk.

The entire calendar can be found in the publications tab.

The calendars can be collected at the PTOP office ul. Ciepła 17 in Białystok.

In December, a Steering Committee of the project was appointed, composed of:

Roman Kalski – Head of the project

Beata Bezubik – Director of the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Białystok

Łukasz Krajewski - Biebrza National Park

Mariusz Sachmaciński – Director of Łomża Landscape Park of the Narew Valley.

Yesterday, 2016/11/24, a conference took place inaugurating our project “Protection of the white stork in river valleys of eastern Poland” no. LIFE15 NAT/PL/000728, co-financed by the European Union from the Financial Instrument for the Environment LIFE and the German foundation Vogelschutz-Komitee e.V.

At the meeting, together with our partners, Łomża Landscape Park of the Narew Valley and Biebrza National Park, we presented the assumptions of the project and issues related to the presence of the white stork in the world, as well as threats for this species.

Adam Zbyrytspotkanie_rozpoczynajace_projektwyklad_bociana


Edyta Kapowicz

fot. PTOP

Sekretariat PTOP

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