Bocian Biały w dolinach rzek

In early April we wrote about an old spring ritual we at Drozdowo elementary school as part of the Life project entitled “Protection of the white stork in river valleys of the eastern Poland”. We baked the so-called “busłowe łapy”, that is stork feet shaped rolls. According to the tradition (and by courtesy of PGE Branch in Łomża), “busłowe łapy” were placed in an abandoned stork nest, to encourage storks to settle there. 
Just imagine today morning’s situation: not one, but two storks are in the nest!!! And they’re in an unambiguous position! The bakings of the children of Drozdowo must have drawn them there. We are waiting for the effects in the form of hatch.

Łomżyński Park Krajobrazowy

As part of our stork project we have just bought a drone to assess the hatching success using two methods - classic (from the ground) and from the air (by drone). We are planning to test them over a 3-year monitoring conducted in Biebrzańska Refuge, to verify how big a mistake is made with the former method and possibly suggest a correction that will allow more accurate estimation of the hatching success with large-area stock-taking of this species. Initial tests show that storks are not afraid of the drone, although it draws their interest. They neither attack the aircraft nor escape from their nests. Here are some photos from the first flights. More is coming soon.

Within the project of protection of the white stork funded from Life resources, in order to compensate for the loss of nesting sites of sparrows and tree sparrows, we decided to mount 3 nesting boxes under every moved nest. Why this number? Well, a few years ago we conducted a study of the occupation of white stork nests by other bird species and it turned out that their main inhabitants are sparrows, tree sparrows and starlings. There were on average 3.5 pairs per one nest. At the end of March, we checked a few of these boxes. There were no storks on the nests yet, but all the boxes already had occupants! This confirms that it is a necessary and important part of protecting these small passerine birds. We intend to explore this phenomenon more thoroughly.

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The Polish Society for Bird Protection has begun a series of meetings with residents living in areas of the ongoing LIFE project entitled “ Protection of the White stork in river valleys of eastern Poland”.
Many years ago, in early spring, in every village home in Podlasie and Kurpie, on 25 March, “busłowe łapy” (“stork's paws”) were baked. They were yeast rolls similar in the shape to the four-claw stork’s paw. It had to do with the belief that the last storks should return by this day. In folk dialect "busioł" means stork. People believed that by inserting “busłowe łapy” into the stork’s nest, they will lure the bird into the nest located on their property, and thus happiness and prosperity will not abandon them throughout the year. This tradition, like many others, have almost completely disappeared in the project implementation areas and to cultivate it, we scheduled 20 meetings with residents in order to bake “busłowe łapy” together.
The first “busłowe łapy” are already behind us. On 25 March we met with residents of Mielnik commune, who came in great numbers to the Commune Culture, Sport and Recreation Center. The workshop was divided into two parts. In the first part we learned the recipe and made yeast dough. In the second one we baked the elaborately prepared stork's paws. There were also harrows, sickles, brioches and even ducks on the baking trays. Of course, children had most fun with the baking, but adults matched their enthusiasm. During a break we invited the participants to watch the film entitled “The land of 1000 storks” realized under the previous project of protection of the white stork. The project gadgets, T-shirts and mugs were very popular. We would like to thank the ladies from the Commune Culture, Sport and Recreation Center for their help, Ms. Halina, who lovingly talked about the tradition of baking “busłowe łapy”, and all the participants for a few hours of joyfully working together.

 

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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.

Enjoy

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

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Anyone watched TVN24 yesterday? Throughout the day there were a few reports of our campaign of pole installation in the municipality of Karpowicze upon Biebrza, as part of the Life project. The entire event was recorded from a drone, so you could see a lot of interesting shots. A local TV from Sokółka also accompanied us on site. It was cold but sunny and very busy, as moving a stork’s nest is not a simple task. It can weigh even up to 1 ton! Below is a link to their footage showing the installation of the first of two poles that were stood in Karpowicze that day.

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

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