With so many buildings, cars and people around, the Riedmatt area is not one where one might expect storks to build a nest. However, a pair has been spotted doing just this in a tree on a meadow in this peripheral area of the city.
Lea Klara Arnold, a resident of Riedpark, said at first she spotted two storks there, and then on one day five. The Cantonal Office of Forestry and Fisheries is aware of the nest, though whether the birds will actually go on to breed there remains uncertain, as section leader Priska Müller said. Aware of the news, too, is Peter Enggist of the Swiss Stork organisation, which monitots stork activity and does all it can to encourage the birds to flourish.
Ideally, storks choose areas of damp meadowland near rivers, streams and lakes, where they can find enough food, not just for themselves but also for their future offspring. However, an increased number of storks have been spotted in more urban areas, something which has been noted in Bern in particular. Indeed, as Enggist confirmed, the stork population of Switzerland is rising.
Dominik Iten, a former chairman of the Zug Society for the Protection of Birds, said that, while storks were quite used having humans around them, it was better to leave them in peace and only look at them from a distance. He, too, is not sure whether those on Riedmatt will stay. “A pair were spotted on a farm in Cham last year but then headed off somewhere else,” he said, adding how, if they did nest, they often returned to the same site for years. Younger storks seemed to like sites near where they had fledged, too.
Unfortunately, not all storks heading to Switzerland arrive here, as it has been discovered some are hunted in north Africa on their way to the Straits of Gibraltar. Even when they do arrive in the relative safety of Europe, they have to ensure they avoid the dangers presented by electricity pylons.
In previous years two breeding pairs have nested on the plain of the River Lorze, near Huenenberg, one near the Bützen restaurant and another by the former cheese dairy. The photographs shows two in the Stadelmatt area of the municipality. One can only wait and see what the ones on Riedmatt plan to do.
This article is based on a report by Marcel Niederberger and Mariagrazia Panzarella.