Winter holidays in Spain

© Dr. G. Nowald

Sunny days, mild temperatures … who would not rather be in Spain than in northern Germany?

At least some cranes do! Every year, more and more cranes try to stay in Germany during the winter. Favored by the mild temperatures, they can find enough food to sustain the cold period. Only a big snow cover can force them to fly in warmer areas. Too much snow makes it impossible to find corn and wheat grains or young plants, which are indispensable to survive. The benefit of enduring the German winter is the time advantage in spring to be the first in breeding territories.

 Nevertheless, most cranes of the northwestern population overwinter in Spain. Especially the Extremadura with their abundant holm and cork oak forests is favored by many Eurasian cranes in winter times. These forests (also called “dehesa”) produce enough acorns to feed thousands of cranes and the Iberian pig of local farmers as well.

The current number of cranes in the Extremadura is not counted yet, but synchronously counting in this area will start in the next weekend. We are eager to see how many “birds of luck” already arrived in the wintering ground. At least we now of some cranes that they are still enjoining the company of the Iberian pig. Blacky, Dimon and Müritzer already arrived at the dehesa forests close to the city Don Benito. These cranes are part of our life-project and were equipped with GPS-devices. This technology enables scientists of Crane Conservation Germany to obtain detailed information about the migration route and favored resting areas. Such information is crucial to improve the conservation of cranes all over Europe and the whole world.

If you want to support the protection of cranes you could become part of our life-project. As a godparent of a crane, fitted with a GPS-transmitter, you can follow your crane “life” at a special website and you receive regular written updates about the crane.

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© Crane Conservation Germany 2017-2019

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