Eastern Slovak village Buzica honored as European Stork Village

Friday, April 18, 2014

Eastern Slovak village Buzica, located southwest of Košice on the Slovakian–Hungarian border, was awarded “European Stork Village” by German environmental foundation EuroNatur. The mayor of Buzica, Jozef Mohňanský, received the award last Saturday.

Stork nest built near the local Lutheranian church
Image: Rauenstein.

Mohňanský told the TASR news agency, "At the moment, we have fifteen stork nests occupied. In about two-three weeks, more storks will arrive in the village." ((sk))Slovak language: ‍Momentálne máme obsadených 15 hniezd, ešte to trvá také dva-tri týždne, kedy k nám prilietavajú. In 2013 there were eleven breeding pairs recorded.

Storks nest in the village center on electricity poles and on artificial breeding platforms raised by local authorities. Local residents respect storks. The village holds an annual festival for the arrival of the storks, and has kept a stork census since 1976. An important part of local environmental activities is education programme "Stork" carried out in local kindergarten and primary school, which regularly issues the school magazine "Stork".

Buzica is one of Slovakia's three most important white stork nesting areas. It lies partly in Košice Plain Protected Bird Area ((sk))Slovak language: ‍Chránené vtáčie územie Košická kotlina, which was declared on January 7, 2008 by the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic. Wetlands near the village naturally attract storks.

Since 1994 EuroNatur has chosen different villages with resident stork colony to award residents' storks protection activities with the honour of the title "European Stork Village". The foundation started this initiative to strengthen the stork conservation network. "The aim of the European Stork Village award is for these places to become internationally known for their special cultural and natural heritage and to hold up their commitment as an example to others", says the foundation's official report.

Buzica is the thirteenth location awarded. The first was the small village of Čigoč in Croatia; last year the Macedonian municipality of Češinovo-Obleševo was awarded.

An awarded village may have the most breeding pairs in its country, or a rapidly increasing stork population. However, the award also considers local government's, and residents', attitude toward storks.