Farmers protecting aquatic warbler get special flags

At the end of June environmentalists from Baltic Environmental Forum visited farmers, whose fields are inhabited by aquatic warblers. The environmentalists talked with the farmers and tried to convince them to delay their field-mowing as much as possible, in order to increase the chances for the offspring of aquatic warblers to survive. The farmers who agreed on protecting this rare bird species were given special flags to express gratitude for co-operation.

“Because each and every aquatic warbler bird is important, we tried to visit all farmers in whose fields this bird is brooding. We talked with farmers declaring their fields for special compensation for aquatic warbler protection and also with those who chose other alternatives. In order to thank farmers for their help to protect the bird we gave out flags illustrating aquatic warblers and we hope that the number of flags raised will increase with time” – says Petras Lengvinas – a coordinator of Baltic Environmental Forum in Nemunas river delta region.

Within three days the environmentalists met with more than 20 farmers from Pagryniai, Šyša, Sausgalviai, Alka, Sakučiai, Kintai and other villages in Nemunas delta, Lithuania.

“There were various moments during those meetings but most of the meetings were very pleasant. The farmers really want to co-operate and are willing to help out. Even the ones who farm intensively and are in need of good quality hay to maintain their farm, tend to delay their field-mowing at least a bit” – says Rita Norvaišaitė, one of the environmentalists participating in the expedition. A volunteer Elvyra Mikšytė added: “I was impressed how one farmer was touched that only a couple days can make such a difference for the bird. He was so worried that the field-mowing might happen just a bit too early and as a consequence the bird offspring would not be able to escape the machinery”.

While visiting the farmers the environmentalists told them interesting facts about aquatic warbler species, which became a symbol of the region. They also informed about bird friendly farming practices, possibilities to get compensated in return to applying conservation practices in their fields, and alternatives for animal feed or uses of the biomass.

“We understand that conservation of this rare bird is not a simple task, as farmers must delay their field-mowing as much as possible, avoid weed shredding and make sure that the grass is removed from the field. We are thankful to all farmers who agreed to help out aquatic warblers now or any year beforehand. Compromises are always possible, we just need willingness to reach them” – said Rita Norvaišaitė and encouraged farmers who have questions to address Baltic Environmental Forum or read the information on the website There one can easily contact environmentalists using online chat tool (on the bottom right corner of the page).

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