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Why should we be concerned about the protection of White Storks?

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) is a common bird of agricultural landscape, considered a good indicator of clean and healthy environment, sustainable agriculture. Storks almost always prefer open areas near water bodies, make large nests in trees located near farmsteads, roads and fields, settlements and major urban periphery, often occupy specially installed platforms. A growing number of storks reside in previously non-traditional locations - on various poles, supports, water towers.
Previously, this bird was plentiful throughout Europe, but intensive anthropogenic impact on the environment: habitat modification and destruction, primarily related to the over-intensive agriculture in many European countries in recent decades, has caused irreversible changes in the landscape. This led to a rapid decline in populations of White Storks in Western Europe, and in some countries their full disappearance. Particularly rapid population decrease was observed in 1970-1990. Only 1-3 pairs were found in Denmark in 1998-2001, 3 pairs in Sweden in 1999-2000, 45-46 pairs in Belgium in 1995–2000.
Although during the period of 1990-2000, population increase, but has not reached the level before the population decline, and is therefore considered to be decreasing.
Lithuanian population is estimated at 12,500–13,000 pairs of white storks. Fluctuations of abundance breeding population were recorded in the previous year: from 1974 to 1984 year stork was a general decrease in the number of 10 000 birds and in 1984 was able to breed from 4126 to 10,180 pairs of couples in Lithuania. Although in Lithuania storks were abundant all the time and the number have increased in recent decades because of decay of soviet agricultural system. However, in recent years, re-growth of agriculture, rapid economic growth can lead to a return process. Therefore, although abundant, this species requires special attention and protection now.




03/11/2015 In its letter of 03/11/2015 the European Commission confirmed that the quality of the final report is good. Event hoe to finalize the report some aspects need to be clarified, the Commission had suggested to publish final technical report on project's web site in order to reinforce the dissemination of technical information about the project.
Telemetry, one of the most progressive birds’ research methods, started to be used already two decades ago, and during this time it has provided invaluable knowledge about hundreds of species of birds. This research method is also put into use in Lithuania, and since this summer it was applied to the study of white storks, which was initiated by Mindaugas Dagys (Nature Research Center Laboratory of Avian Ecology) and Ramunas ┼Żydelis (DHI, Denmark).
For centuries change of seasons is associated with white stork in Lithuania. Even now there is still vivid belief that white stork returning after winter is a symbol of the coming spring, because he brings back wagtail, who sometimes is even called “ice kicker”, who kicks out all ice with its funny tiny legs.

Although White Stork is a long distance migrant spending winters  even down to South Africa, sometimes there are exceptions from this rule. In the last years these birds more and more often stay in Lithuania in the cold season.