Birds sing less but dance more

For the seventh year in a row, the number of songbirds in Sweden has plummeted.

Monday’s DN reported that there are just half as many larks this year as there were thirty years ago, when Lund University began researching bird numbers.

“The cause is thought to be new cultivation methods,” explained this year’s study. “Planting finishes earlier, autumn sowing has replaced spring sowing, the old crops are packed into plastic while they are still green and weeds are never left in the fields.” Which means that when the seeds there, the birds aren’t, and when the seeds are there, the birds aren’t.

But there were no such problems around Hornborgasjön, a lake in Västergötland, where record numbers of “dancing cranes” have been spotted.

Apparently it was such good weather last week that the cranes – 12,600 of them – all turned up at once, and Göteborgs Posten spoke to the man who counted them.

Since 1989 Paul Trötschel has spent two weeks a year at the lake, photographing the birds. “It’s all about waiting,” he explained. “Waiting and waiting and waiting.”

Over the next five weeks up to 150,000 people are expected to visit the area to watch the cranes’ dance.

And Trötschel had some advice for novices: “If you find a good spot, you’ve got to stay there from the moment the first crane arrives until the last crane leaves. So don’t leave your tea and sandwiches in the car.”