White stork

The white stork, Ciconia ciconia, is a popular bird around Europe and the species was for a long time something of a symbol of the southern Swedish agricultural landscape.  After a sharp decline in population in the early 20th century, the white stork died out in Sweden in the 1950s. 

The extinction was a result of extensive excavations of wetlands made during the 19th and early 20th century to create arable land. In Skåne, 90% of the wetlands that existed at the beginning of the 19th century have been drained out and since this is where the stork found its food, it quickly died out.  

The loss of wetlands across Europe is the main cause of the decline of the species throughout Western Europe.  A new major threat to the species in the wild is high-voltage lines as these are the most common cause of death both at breeding sites and along the migration routes.

What we do at Nordens Ark
During the 1980s, many wetlands were restored and re-created in Skåne and with this, conditions to bring back a breeding stork population in Skåne.  In 1989, the Swedish Stork Project was started, which is run by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Skåne together with skånes Ornithological Association.

The stork project aims to bring back a wild and migratory stork population in Skåne. To achieve this, the project works, among other things, to breed and release great kings.

Nordens Ark has been working with the Stork Project in Skåne for several years to build a wild stork population in Sweden.  Nordens Ark holds about 10-12 adult couples in the wetland area of the park. All the chicks that hatch on Nordens Ark are sent to Skåne to be released into the wild together with hundreds of other storks.

Thanks to conservation work, the white stork is now re-established in Skåne and it is once again possible to see wild storks in Sweden! An important part of the success of re-establishment and ensuring a long-term sustainable stork population is the migration every year in August-September. The released birds move south along with the storks that have been born in the wild. When these storks get ready to breed after about three years, they hopefully return to Sweden and Skåne.

Current in the project
Nordens Ark and the Swedish Stork Project are importing some 30 new breeding birds during the winter of 2022. The storks, which will be imported from Poland, have all been injured in different ways and cannot be rehabilitated and released into the wild.

In cooperation with The Swedish Stork Project