Storks set unusually early course for Denmark

Storks appear to be migrating to Denmark at an unusually early time of year.

Storks set unusually early course for Denmark
File photo: Steffen Ortmann/Scanpix Denmark

Warmer weather means the sight, usually a sign spring is coming, is now occurring with a sizeable chunk of winter still to go, say birdwatching enthusiasts.

The bird has been spotted several times in the northern German province of Schleswig-Holstein near the Danish border, according to the society.

Warmer Danish winters mean the animals are able to fly to the country at an earlier stage of the year, according to Jess Frederiksen, chairperson with the society.

“The same storks are coming earlier and earlier each year. This is because they can now be here in January and February, when it used to be too cold. The storks have learned that there's no longer any need to wait to get going [on their migration],” Frederiksen said.

Storks coming to Denmark look for optimal space to be able to breed, so migrating earlier can be an advantage for the animal.

Frederiksen also said that, where the used to spend winters in Africa, increased temperatures meant that the birds now often stayed in southern Europe during the colder months.

“Many of the storks that are coming now come from Spain, southern France and Germany. That is quite a short flight for a stork,” he said.

A spokesperson with the Danish Ornithological Society said it was unusual for the bird to migrate to Denmark so early in the year.

“There has been a trend in recent decades for more and more storks to winter in Spain instead of flying to Africa. But even for them it would be very unusual if they were to show up [in Denmark] now,” biologist Knud Flensted with the organisation said.

Several hundred storks typically migrate to Denmark at the beginning of Spring.

READ ALSO: Bird of prey returning to Denmark in numbers


Why 30 percent of Denmark could be left to nature

A Danish environmental organization has received a positive political response over a proposal to ensure 30 percent of Denmark be reserved for nature.

Why 30 percent of Denmark could be left to nature
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Society for Nature Conservation (Danmarks Naturfredningsforening, DN) wants the country’s nature to be written into law by way of an obligation to ensure 30 percent of Danish land to be nature reserve by 2031, DR reports.

The proposal was made as government politicians met at Marienborg, the official residence of the prime minister, on Monday for talks on biodiversity.

The concept of such a ‘biodiversity law’, which would place binding targets for Denmark on the area, was initially positively received.

The interest organization for the agriculture sector, the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, has said it also supports biodiversity goals, while environment minister Lea Wermelin said she would listen to suggestions regarding both targets and legislation.

“Fundamentally, the biggest task right now is to reverse nature’s decline and ensure that over 2,000 species threatened by extinction get a helping hand and the chance to remain in Denmark,” DN president Maria Reumert Gjerding said to DR.

“So it’s crucial that politicians make commitments to nature targets,” she added.

The Marienborg meeting is the beginning of government work to implement a ‘package’ of laws on nature and biodiversity, which the Social Democratic government promised prior to the June general election.

Wermelin said action must be taken to prevent Denmark from entering a “natural crisis”.

“We are genuinely interested in a new process to form a long-term plan for Denmark’s nature. Although reports paint a bleak picture, they also say it’s possible to set a new, green direction,” she added.

The minister welcomed “specific ideas and wishes” from environmental organizations that could help in making such a plan, DR reports.

Although only 0.4 percent of the area of Denmark is currently wild nature, DN says the target could be reached by buying or renting land from landowners and leaving it to nature, as well as by ensuring a specified amount of agricultural land actively benefits biodiversity.

READ ALSO: Here are Denmark's 15 most beautiful natural areas