Storks: they are already there, why are they more and more numerous in the sky of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté?

Harbingers of the return of sunny days, these birds are in full migration. Until April, they will be thousands to cross the region. The white stork is doing quite well. We explain why.

“Look, over there a stork!” In the fields, it is not uncommon to come face to face with this wader. Her silhouette black and White completes that of the gray heron, accustomed with its gray plumage to our Comtois landscapes.

The storks compose a meticulously regulated ballet. They thousands cross Burgundy-Franche-Comté twice a year: the prenuptial migration period extends from January 15 to April 30, with a peak of passage from mid-February to mid-March. This year, they are barely late. Who likes to travel when the winter is windy and rainy?

They will leave from mid-July after raising their young.

“We had 66 breeding pairs in 2021 in Franche-Comté, 41 of which breed in the Territoire de Belfort” indicates Samuel maasornithologist at the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) of Burgundy Franche-Comte. In 1974, the white stork was on the verge of extinction in France. In question : significant changes to natural environments (land consolidation, drainage of marshes, intensive use of pesticides, etc.) but also the increase in climatic hazards during migration and on wintering grounds or even predation by humans in Africa. “The population has gone from 9 pairs in France in 1974 to more than 5,000 today, intensive agriculture had contributed to the reduction in numbers. Today, agriculture is more extensive. Exotic crayfish found in some streams are resources for storks. We can probably go even further in terms of development of the white stork population” says the ornithologist. Spain or Poland, for example, have at least 35,000 pairs.

It is rather a good sign to have storks. The ecosystem regains momentum, storks regulate prey

Samuel Maas, ornithologist LPO BFC

The presence and reproduction of storks just stay However brittle. In our regions, it requires the continuation of actions to preserve wetlands and neutralize power lines. In Burgundy-Franche-Comté, the LPO has developed a partnership for several years with ENEDIS to preserve birdlife near power lines.

You are more likely to see them in the valleys. The birds arrive from the south following the Rhône valley, then the Saône valley, before branching off to join the Doubs valley and continuing north along the Rhine valley. This is the main migration corridor, but other axes exist (Valley of the Saône, of theOnion, long of the High Chainetc).

If you see storks, you can help count them. Just enter your comments:

  • on the database
  • use the mobile app”NaturaList (Google Play & AppStore)
  • contact the LPO Burgundy Franche-Comte on their Facebook or Instagram account

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