06.08.2018 change 06.08.2018
Anna Ślązak
Anna Ślązak

Naturalists appeal to drivers: Watch out for young storks!

A new warning sign? Credit: Renata Orzeszek, "Bez szablonu" A new warning sign? Credit: Renata Orzeszek, "Bez szablonu"

Naturalists appeal to drivers: watch out for young storks who are learning to fly and often become victims of traffic accidents. It`s about the safety of both birds and people, emphasises ornithologist and naturalist, Dr. Ireneusz Kaługa from Grupa EkoLogiczna.

In recent days many young storks left their nests to start their first flights. There already are victims. Over the last two days in Siedlce poviat, three young storks - two of them ringed in Paprotnia and Zbuczyn - were killed by cars, Dr. Kaługa says in an interview with PAP.

In connection with this, the ornithologist appeals to drivers to be extra careful while driving through rural areas and pay attention to storks. "The middle of summer is the time when young storks learn to fly. They sometimes land on the side of the road, from where they are not able to fly away quickly, or they take off from the side of the road where they were looking for food. In some cases, they fly low over the road from one meadow to another They end up on a collision course with cars. If the driver is driving fast and is unprepared for such a situation - the bird unfortunately gets killed" - says Ireneusz Kaługa.

He draws attention to the cause of the problem: the fact that there are more cars - and that drivers, especially young people, drive too fast. They do not even slow down in areas with speed limit of 50 km per hour.

"Recently, at 9 PM, firefighters from the State Fire Service in Siedlce asked me for an intervention near Nasiłów, in the Paprotnia commune - saying that a stork needed help on the road in the forest. The young stork had a broken spine, both wings..." - says the ornithologist. In his opinion, the place where the bird was found indicated that it was feeding on the side of the road - or that it was its first flight, during which it was hit by a car. The nest he has left is located by the road, which also increases the risk.

In Siedlce poviat, where Ireneusz Kaługa conducts ringing, a dozen or so storks are killed by cars every year. This number has been increasing for several years and the ornithologist presumes that it will probably continue to grow, especially in areas with large populations of these birds.

Currently, signs with images of an elk, deer, wild boar or cow warn drivers about the possibility of encountering an animal on the road. Dr. Kaługa proposes to prepare a new warning sign - a yellow triangle with an image of a stork. It could be placed periodically in the vicinity of villages with large clusters of storks - or where accidents with storks happen every year. "It could be added to already existing signs for about a month, when young birds learn to fly and are most likely to collide with cars. Remember that it is not only about the safety of storks, but also passengers and drivers" - he says.

Such a sign, placed by the road even for a few weeks, will work due to its novelty: "Oh, it`s a new thing, that wasn`t here before!" - and can draw the attention of drivers who often drive automatically" - suggests Ireneusz Kaługa.

PAP - Science in Poland, Anna Ślązak

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