Birds' sanktuaries

There are many sites in Poland, where numerous bird species can still be observed. Besides the already quoted Biebrza and Vistula valleys and the , particularly attractive are the following nature refuges:

The SLONSKI NATURE RESERVE (area: 4,166 hectares) located where the Warta joins the Odra. Vast floodwaters are a haven for thousands of water birds, especially for geese and ducks. Many bird species from northern Europe come here to spend winter time. The Milicz ponds are found north-west of Wroclaw, in the Barycz valley. This largest in Europe complex of fish ponds (area: 6,800 hectares) with rich edge overgrowth of rushes and reeds offers a perfect shelter to nesting of mud and water fowl. Hunters are also frequent visitors here. For more information, contact the Ornithological Station of the Wroclaw University at Ruda Milicka.

The Siemianowka water reservoir is on the upper Narew, near the border between Poland and Belarus. The edges of this shallow retention reservoir are occupied by wetlands which became a refuge for over 112 species of water birds. Little and whiskered terns, rare in this part of Europe, found their home here.

The Uknajono Lake sanctuary is on the Masurian Lake District is one of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. This shallow and muddy water body is a very popular nesting ground for water and mud birds, and in autumn and winter it receives thousands of ducks, cormorants, and grebes, which gather here to pass the cold month. The highlight of the place is the colony of mute swan, counting nearly one thousand individuals. Tourists are not allowed to enter the reserve area, but observations can be carried out from the Mikolajki-Gizycko road.

The majority of Polish bird lovers are associated in the National Bird Protection Society (OTOP), but there are also other, similar social institutions. There is a number of tourist agencies which specialise in ornithological tours organised for bird watchers from foreign countries.

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