Hortobágy National Park

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The Common Crane was a breeding species in Hungary up to the end of the 19th century, the start of the water regulation programmes carried out alongside the course of the large rivers and connecting marshlands. However, Hungary is one of the most important staging-over sites for the Common Crane in Europe as outlined in the followings.
Up to the end of the 1970-ies, Lake Kardoskút in South-Hungary was the most important roost site for cranes during spring and autumn migration periods.

From the beginning of the 1980-ies, its role was more and more taken by some artificial fishponds in the Hortobágy, which can be explained by the following reasons:

Source : www.hnp.hu
Source : www.hnp.hu
Source : www.hnp.hu
Source : www.hnp.hu

Consequently, the peak number of staging cranes in the Hortobágy increased from 3,000 in 1983 to 65,000 to 1993 and then to 120,000 in 2015, which still continues to increase . Cranes roost in 3-15 roost sites annually depending on the amount of precipitation filling up marshes.  Roost sites are occupied by 2,000-70,000 cranes from mid-September to late November with peak numbers in late October.

However, it is important to note the increase of the number of non-breeding, oversummering cranes: this number has increased from 200 in the early 80-ies to 600 to the present time. In mild winters occasional overwintering also occurs.

Recognizing the importance of the Hortobágy in the survival of the Common Crane, the Hortobágy National Park Directorate started a programme aiding this process:

Informations : Zsolt Végvári (Hortobágy National Park)