Ornithologist: Extreme Weather Events Will Have Serious Impact on Bird Migration

Extreme phenomena, which are consequences of climate change, will have a very serious impact on the migration of birds, ornithologist Dr. Peter Yankov from the Nature Conservation Center “Poda” at the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) said, adding that strong winds, high temperatures, sudden cold snaps and rain prevent birds from carrying out their flights. They mostly affect the flight of storks, pelicans and birds of prey.

These birds fly passively, i.e. with fixed wings, using the warm air flows, Yankov explained. He gave the example of the recent strong winds on the Black Sea coast, which prevented the storks from flying south.

The ornithologist explained that the birds’ migration is related to the length of the day. “The migration of birds started at the end of July”, he said. For Yankov, the migration is a parade of nature in which the flock of birds takes a different shape. He stressed that the birds tend to avoid the open sea and recalled that one of the two largest migration routes in Europe – Via Pontica – passes along the western coast of the Black Sea.

Storks, together with some species of gulls and terns, are among the first birds to leave Bulgaria. The most intense flows of white storks are over Burgas, as it is located at the westernmost point of the Black Sea and so the birds bypass it.

The white stork begins to fly in late July, with 90-95% of the entire population departing in August. Very few storks remain in Bulgaria until the end of September.

The Burgas route to Africa is used by the German and Polish storks. Yankov added that in 2022 a satellite signal detected that a white stork from Russia had also passed through Burgas.