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Goosanders bring traffic to a halt in Warsaw again, becoming a new tradition

Goosanders bring traffic to a halt in Warsaw again, becoming a new tradition

Image source: © Ula Frydrych / Facebook - Zarząd Zieleni Warszawy
Marta Grzeszczuk,
16.04.2024 13:45

Spring is a time of new beginnings, and for the goosanders of Warsaw, it's a time to embark on an annual journey. Every year, these birds lead their young across a six-lane street with the help of volunteers and the City Guard.

Goosanders are a rare and protected species of wild birds. There are only about 1.5-2.5 thousand breeding pairs in Poland. In Warsaw, goosanders can mainly be found in the Royal Baths Park. Once the chicks have hatched in spring, the mother goosanders lead their young towards the Vistula River. However, their path is blocked by the busy Czerniakowska Street, a part of the "Wisłostrada" expressway that runs along the left bank of the Vistula River in the capital city.

The first goosanders to cross Wisłostrada this year

Every year, Warsaw’s Greenery Authority joins hands with the city's residents to help the families of goosanders cross the route from the Royal Baths Park to the Czerniakowski Port on the Vistula River. This is done as part of voluntary work. On Sunday, 14 April, at around 2 PM, the first mother with 14 chicks successfully crossed the six-lane Czerniakowska Street after the Warsaw Municipal Police, with the help of volunteers, halted the traffic on the street and adjacent pavements.

The most important thing is not to disturb goosanders

Since 9 April, a group of around twelve volunteers have been monitoring the area around the Piaseczyński Canal and the Royal Baths Park three times a day. The goosanders in the area are also being supported by members of the "Kanał Piaseczyński - ostoja ptaków" Facebook group, who have been documenting the birds' migrations.

Notices have been placed along the canal to inform people that the goosander nesting season is underway and that caution should be exercised. It's important to know that these birds are protected within the Natura 2000 area of the Middle Vistula Valley.

To help raise awareness, Warsaw's Greenery Authority has also provided information on Facebook on how to behave if you encounter a goosander with its young on a walk. In general, the task is to try to help them calmly cross the pavement or roadway. Other important things to remember:

  • do not approach the birds (keep a 3-4 meters distance),
  • keep dogs on a lead,
  • remain calm and quiet,
  • do not try to chase the female back into the park,
  • do not chase the birds off the street they are trying to cross,
  • do not feed the birds,
  • try to stop other moving pedestrians and cyclists,
  • watch out for crows that may snatch a chick that moves away from its mother.
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