31-Otis-tarda-Jiri-BohdalCourtship dance of male great bustards in early spring   © Jiri Bohdal

Great bustards have been already mentioned long time ago in older writings of Pliny the Elder as avis tarda, and in 1758 they were classified with their scientific name Otis tarda by Carl Linnaeus while the description tarda is Latin for slow and deliberate which is apt to describe the typical walking style of these possibly heaviest flying birds in the world who breed in southern and central Europe and across temperate Asia. European population are mainly resident, but Asian birds move further south in winter. Portugal and Spain now contain about 60 % of the world’s population (approx. 50,000 birds in total). The birds are often described as magnificent, stately birds because of the males’ great size, cocked tails and large white whiskers.

In the rural countryside of the great bustards

This species has suffered rapid population reductions across most of its range owing to the loss, degradation and fragmentation of its habitat, as well as hunting leading to a complete extinction in Great-Britain already in the midst of the 19th century. In Germany around 200 birds are now living again at three different locations in the eastern part what means an increase of 400 % in relation to the bad situation in 1997. This is only possible by heavy intervention of ornithologists and nature conservationists who for example achieved that the new railway trail from Berlin to Hannover had to be redirected several years ago in order not to disturb the birds – meanwhile fenced areas have additionally been constructed at suitable locations as a protection for the birds because unfortunately, the great bustards are also a bit stubborn and conservative in their behavior what may be quite dangerous for a vulnerable species.

Single great bustard – photo: Andrej Chudy  CC BY-SA 2.0

So the flexible and intelligent fox could normally always very easily steal their eggs while the great bustards simply do not take enough care of it. But these reserved islands here in Germany seem to be also a little bit like an outdoor-zoo hosting ornithological observation towers for bird watchers of all kind (one good observation point is situated for example near the city of Märkisch-Luch, urban district Garlitz, in the federal  state of Brandenburg) but observation is normally only possible in early spring during the courtship displays. So you need always binoculars as the birds can only be watched in a minium distance of ca. 300 m.

Their distant relative – the crane – instead could be a good teacher in this regard who overflies each year the continents of this world in order to find the best places for survival. But when you do not cross the red lines of being, hence you will never know what is lying there behind the horizon of singularity. Even if you subsequently discover only a half-filled glass of water this is definitely always much better than a dried-up big river in front of your door.

Lens Artists Challenge “Delicate”

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suburban tracks

I like travelling through the diverse realities and cultures of this world not only as a tourist. Nature, history of ancient sites or creative works are fascinating me however also abandoned places or ordinary things can be just magical and amazing. The multiple aspects and rich diversity of our blue planet need to be however nourished and protected. Please be so kind to respect that all texts, graphics or photos in this blog are protected by copyright. Unless otherwise mentioned by naming the individuali author, creator, designer or photographer all copyrights hold by suburban tracks. This is moreover an AWARD FREE BLOG! Thank you in advance for appreciation and kind understanding. COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED IN GERMAN, FRENCH OR ENGLISH!

19 thoughts on “THE RED LINES OF BEING”

    1. I have joined several ornithological excursions with a real expert in birdwatching and some birdlovers come really from far away only to see these strange great bustards. For me just 75 km nearby Berlin. Before I never heard of them like you. Nice Weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m so happy to hear that Germany is doing so much to bring back the populations of these unusual birds. Moving a railroad line and building fences are both quite expensive actions, so it’s good the government has taken on the job of doing it. How great for birdwatchers that they can now find spaces reserved for spotting these birds, Ulli. I’ll be happy to link this to my next prose post on May 28. Thanks for sharing the link. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The situation of these strange birds is like living on an isolated but protected island in a rough sea (= industrialized agriculture). But we have many civil organizations of enthusiastic nature protecters or bird watchers / ornithologists who do a lot for preserving nature. Without their unpaid work, these birds would be really estincted meanwhile. So these birds really had a “lobby” and some luck. However, the situation is contradictional so the living conditions in a city like Berlin are often much better than in the surrounding countryside with all the chemicals of agriculture killing all kinds of insects and indirectly also the birds. At least here a vulnerable species could be saved, much more needs to be done in this regard. Wishing you some nice adventures and trips in the time being!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. After the last European election which made the Green Party even more important, I hope that still more will happen in this regard. According the latest opinion polls here in Germany after the European election the Green Party is now nearly No. 1 with 25 % bringing the traditional parties under real pressure. There is hope …

      Liked by 1 person

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