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An estimated 50 billion migratory birds are traveling around the world at the beginning of the year to return from their winter quarters to their breeding grounds. About five billion of them make their way from Africa to Europe - and for many birds this journey is not without its dangers. In addition to the weather, humans often - whether directly or indirectly - prevent the arrival of the target, be it through bird traps or power lines, which kill millions of birds year after year.
Typical representatives of the migratory birds are White and Black Stork, Crane, Honey Buzzard, Cuckoo, Common Swift, Barn Swallow, Curlew, Lapwing, Song Thrush, Marlin Warbler, Skylark, Fitis, Nightingale, Black Redstart and the Starling. Maybe it's because of its name: The star is the migratory bird that is currently being observed by our users most often in their gardens and surroundings. Stare belong to the so-called Mittelstreckenziehern, overwinter in the Mediterranean and Northwest Africa and travel on her bird migration back up to 2,000 kilometers. In their migration, they usually appear in huge swarms.
Above all, the star is known from the third verse of the folk song classic "All birds are already there":
"How they are all merry, / nimble and glad of rain! / Blackbird, thrush, finch and star and the whole flock of birds / wish you a happy year, / all salvation and blessing."
Hoffmann von Fallersleben welcomes the star in his lyric as early as 1835, among other birds as a spring messenger. The fruit farmers in the old country, the large fruit growing area between Hamburg and Stade, do not like the star in their plantations, because he likes to enjoy the cherries. In the past, the starlings were distributed there with bangers, today the fruit farmers protect their trees with nets. In contrast, the star can be used as a cherry tree guard in the private garden.
Cranes can be observed with their typical V-formation in their bird migration in the sky
Frequently observed: cranes and storks
Less a garden bird, but often watched by our community members, is the crane. Cranes travel in groups of several families and make their typical calls to keep in touch with each other. They are long-haul flyers. The V-flight is their "energy-saving mode": The birds flying further in the air fly in the lee of the front animals. Because of their alertness and wisdom, cranes were already honored in Greek mythology as "birds of luck".
The stork, which travels vast distances between the continents in autumn and spring, as its wintering areas are located south of the Sahara, is also very welcome and often seen. In recent years, however, one can observe that many storks spend the winter with us. The long-distance cattle include the cuckoo, which takes in air miles of between 8,000 and 12,000 kilometers. When his typical call is heard, spring has finally come.
Cranes like to look for food on harvested corn fields during their stopovers
Among the songbirds that defy the cold of our winter and not in the direction of southern Europe, in addition to blackbird, sparrow, greenfinch, including the tits. Only cold mountainous regions leave, but do not travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers like migratory birds, but stay in our climes. One therefore speaks of them also of annual or resident birds. Two species of the big family are especially common in our latitudes: the cabbage and the blue tit. Taken together, they bring it in Germany to about eight to ten million couples. They are thus both among the ten most common breeding birds in this country. In the cold season, they are particularly present in our gardens, since now the food supply in the wild is no longer so abundant.
Fieldfare is one of the so-called soft-food predators and look in the winter for berries and not harvested fruit. They also like to eat sliced apples and raisins
Five types of thrush are native to us. The song thrush is much smaller than the blackbird. Her singing is particularly melodic and can even be heard at night. The ring choke can be recognized by its white neck. It prefers to breed in higher conifer forests. The smaller redwing is usually seen with its rust-red flanks only in winter with us; She spends the summer mainly in Scandinavia. The juniper is sociable, breeds in colonies and sometimes seeks the proximity of starlings. The breast is ocher with black spots. The mistletoe is often confused with the song thrush, but it is larger and white under the wings.
The Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) calls every year nationwide with the hour of winter birds to participate in a counting campaign.The results serve to identify changes in bird life and the behavior of overwintering birds.