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The swamp world of Hortobagy is a strategic place to rest: we have the “crane capital” of the world

The swamp world of Hortobagy is a strategic place to rest: we have the "crane capital" of the world

In mid-October, experts in Hortopaje National Park counted about 130,000 cranes at a time, one of the largest concentrations of birds in Hungary since the introduction of regular counting in 1991. What makes Hortopaji a “popular” place for rest among migratory birds, and how is it calculated birds at all? Hirado.hu has received answers to this and many other questions from the administration of the Hortobágy National Park.

One of the crane migration routes runs through Hungary, and one of the largest crane collection points is located in Hortopaje National Park (Photo: MTI/Zsolt Czeglédi)

In October, the number of resting birds, especially cranes, increased in Hortopaji: in the middle of the month, experts of Hortopaji National Park (HNP) counted more than 130 thousand specimens. “This huge number is among the most populous data on average over the past 20 years, with more birds recorded only a few times since then.” The National Park recently wrote on its Facebook page.

How long have the birds been counted, and how prominent is the current population of 130,000? – We asked the Hortobagi National Park Directorate (HNPI).

HNPI’s journalism department wrote that the so-called simultaneous counting was occurring during the 30-year period of the crane migration. This means that target censuses are carried out in the places of nightingales used by cranes, which can be used to determine how many birds are here at one time. The sizes observed during the migration of cranes have increased dynamically in recent decades.

The 130,000 specimens counted this year belong to the middle field, where twice before there have been examples of 160,000 cranes in the park.

Last fall, 95,000 specimens were placed before the binoculars of conservation rangers. In late October, it was Saint Dumotor Recovery Festival and Crane Festival 103,000 cranes were operated at Hortobágy at night.

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The staff of the Hortobágy National Park await groups of birds that arrive at the sleeping place with binoculars along the habitat. This provides a good opportunity to count the individuals on the team. “Sometimes there is no way to count accurately, in which case we show the spatial range of ten birds to the rest of the team, so we can estimate the total number of birds in the team,” wrote Attila Szilagy, head of the Nature Department. preservation service. Another counting method is used in the early hours of the morning: when the first lights appear, the birds that rest on the water before sunrise are counted. This was helped by the fact that there were many watchtowers and bird watchers near the places of rest, from which the crowded forces could be seen “from above”.

Nice climate, suitable water level

The weather is one of the main reasons for the unusually large numbers of migratory birds and the autumn population in Hortobag. From mid-September, the Siberian cold of origin reaches Northern Europe, Scandinavia, and the cranes collectively move south, to Central Europe. Hungary’s mild autumn can make fans of northern cranes long. The size of the birds in Hortobágy also depends on the amount of food available, since the main autumn food for cranes is provided from corn kernels that have fallen on leftovers – we learned from the HNPI press department.

A crane rally on an autumn morning ⛅🐦

Autumn has already stretched its arms toward Hortobágy, and mist covers the steppe like a quilt. The cries of cranes are heard far away on cold mornings, but at the same time during the fall of the day, cranes appear in great numbers in Hortobágy National Park. 🐦🐦

Video: Attila Zelaghi – The Nature Conservancy

#Our Passion for Nature #Nature for Everyone #Henu #Crane #Lane Ride #Hortobajy National Park Directorate #

Posted by: Hortobagi National Park Directorate Saturday 16 October 2021

Hirado.hu also asked what conservation tools are used in the national park to help the birds resting here have a good time?

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Cranes prefer accommodation in shallow waters. They replied that the National Park Service regulates the water level in the fish ponds it manages to create optimal shallow water conditions for the cranes. Hortobágy also plays a central role in the case of the north-south, east-west bird migration routes. This strategic role and large open space, as well as the peaceful environment of the national park, cause the abundance of birds in Hortobágy.

In the case of cranes, the most populous gathering place in the world is Hortobágy National Park, an area of ​​outstanding interest to many other waterfowl species. Up to half a million wild geese can migrate to the region in each migration season.

It is also typical of big lily, but Hortobágy plays a unique role in Lilac kiss In addition to its global population, there are only 150 to 160 specimens of this species in Europe.


Darvak at sunrise in Hortobágy

The abundance of waterfowl also attracts predators: due to the presence of otters, Hortobágy is of European importance; In winter, 150 to 180 specimens appear in the national park.

We can also take part in a crane in Hortobágy by car

HNPI also organizes guided bird watching tours, which can be applied for by filling out a Google form.

🍂☀️ It is normal that at the end of October the total number of cranes will begin to decrease according to the Hortobagi National Park Directorate …

Posted by: Hortobagi National Park DirectorateTuesday November 2, 2021

Guided tours of this week’s most populous crane gathering place begin on Wednesdays and Fridays from 2:30 p.m., but due to the high level of interest, the national park is also planning more tours in November.

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Tour participants – sometimes up to twenty years old – begin from the village of Hortobágy, following the tour guide, and approach the birdwatcher’s site with their own vehicle.

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