Bird conservation in Europe

Cranes flying in the sunset Cranes flying in the sunset
Every year, about five billion birds
commute between Europe and Africa.

© Willi Rolfes

Migratory birds under fire

Protecting migratory birds and their habitats in Europe has been one of EuroNatur’s core themes since its inception. There is nothing more emblematic of boundless nature than the twice-yearly migration of birds. We are fighting for intact and safe resting places on the migration routes used by migratory birds, so they can recover in peace from the exertions of their strength-sapping travels. The geographical focus of our work is the Balkans, where the Adriatic Flyway is an important migration route for wading birds and waterfowl. Unfortunately, poaching is a particularly big problem here. Many wetlands are also being drained or converted into facilities for tourism. Another focus of our bird conservation work is the stork. We launched the European Stork Villages Initiative to draw attention to the dramatic loss of species-rich wet meadows and pastures. These are vital for the storks’ survival as it is here that the birds find most of their food.

We are protecting migratory birds in Europe

Pink flamingos flying
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What we are doing for Europe's migratory birds

  • Combatting illegal bird hunting: By weaving the network of bird conservationists ever tighter, we are laying the foundations that will enable us to more effectively protect migratory birds from poachers. Ducks, herons and waders have returned to many of the wetlands from which they had once disappeared because these areas are now being regularly monitored by rangers. The illegal hunting of quail in the Balkans is also being curbed, thanks to the work of our partners. Furthermore, several countries in southeastern Europe have revised their hunting and nature conservation laws - also in response to pressure from ourselves - and have placed endangered species under protection.
  • Preserving valuable habitats: We are campaigning for the designation of protected areas and are developing effective strategies for conserving migratory bird habitats both in the long term and transnationally. A major success has been the designation of the Ulcinj Salina in Montenegro as a protected area. Thanks to years of effort by EuroNatur and its many partners, the salina was declared a nature park in June 2019.
  • Reducing hazards: Apart from direct persecution, one of the most common human-related causes of bird death is collision with, among other things, power lines. We are working to ensure that existing power lines are upgraded so they are bird-safe and that new lines are laid underground. Another deadly hazard, especially for waterfowl, comes from grains of lead shot; these are swallowed by birds causing them to die in agony. The EU ban on leaded ammunition in wetlands has also come about as a result of pressure from EuroNatur and its partners.
  • Sparking enthusiasm: Birds fascinate and delight. By undertaking a considerable number of excursions with school groups, our partners are sharing the diversity and beauty of local birdlife even with the very youngest among us. This is creating awareness in children and young people of the need to protect birdlife. Europe’s stork villages in particular are succeeding in sparking enthusiasm for the birds among young people. Our partners also offer many excursions for adults, aimed at increasing their awareness of bird conservation.

I'm a huge fan of EuroNatur. These are people who care deeply about the birds in each of the Balkan countries, and they need to be encouraged.

Jonathan Franzen Jonathan Franzen, Bestselling-Author, Ornithologist and EuroNatur-Award Laureate

Join in and help us!

Join the many people getting actively involved to save Europe’s migratory birds. We are grateful for any donation for migratory birds or active contribution you can make! In doing so, you are supporting an independent and networked civil society in Europe, which is campaigning vigorously to protect our migratory birds.


Watching out for poachers, rendering baited traps harmless, making power lines safe: There are many different aspects to protecting Europe’s migratory birds.

How you can help

Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please help anyway you can. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to protect birds in Europe.

Migratory Bird Sponsorship

Bird migration is an incomparable natural spectacle. But illegal hunting and the destruction of resting areas endanger the birds. Help make their journey safer.