In contrast with much of Europe, Hamburg's white storks are thriving
August 2013. Hamburg has emerged as an unlikely haven for white storks, according to Jürgen Pelch, of NABU International - Foundation for Nature (BirdLife in Germany - NABU) in Hamburg.
NABU Hamburg have announced the best stork breeding season for 51 years in Hamburg, where 23 pairs have raised 50 young this year. In 2012 there were just 15 pairs and 37 fledglings, and in 2011 19 pairs with 46 young.
It is possible that, as habitat declines in other parts of northern Germany, more storks are identifying Hamburg as a haven. In the region to the east of Hamburg, In Mecklenburg-Pomerania, the breeding population has declined by 30 percent due to intensification of agriculture.
NABU Hamburg has been working to improve conditions for the storks, by erecting nesting platforms and improving other habitats. NABU helped recreate some wetlands along the Kirchwerder meadows to attract frogs and other wildlife.
In 2012 NABU launched a campaign with Vattenfall, a power company, after two young storks were electrocuted to place wind flags on some power lines to stop such accidents in future.
Jürgen Pelch stressed that despite Hamburg's recent success, the birds are still at risk. On their migration routes they are exposed to a range of hazards, and only one in four fledgling storks make it back to the breeding area. Agricultural monocultures, drained wetlands, trigger-happy hunters and the use of pesticides continue threatened the white stork.
Bad year for Czech storks.