European Stork Village

more than a year ago

The first storks of spring traditionally arrive around St Joseph's Day (March 19), bringing loads of babies and stuff. If you'd like to witness this phenomenon, you're in luck - you have a European Stork Village right on your doorstep. Čigoč is in an area of protected wetlands just southeast of Zagreb called Lonjsko Polje, and it's a cute little place full of wooden folk architecture to boot. Here's what you'll find there...

When travelling down the main highway from Zagreb towards Slavonski Brod, should you feel the need to go flying off the road on a sharp bend then we suggest you do this around Kutina and head for the right. You'll have a lovely soft landing, although you may get a little damp, as you’ll be landing in a swamp - Lonjsko polje. The 506km2 of meadows and forests are grazed alternatively by cattle and by fish, depending on whether the area is flooded or not - and in spring it will be. The area contains three marshes and navigable canals.

The area has a rich variety of birds and provides sightings of herons and cormorants amongst others. The main attraction in this sense is the ‘stork village’ of Čigoč. The 'New Zealand of the stork world' so to speak, the village is home to 200 stork families who have built 45 nests atop the 74 houses which house 120 human inhabitants. The best time for nosily intruding upon this colony of birds is between March and August. The information centre is at No 26. Here you can rent telescopes in order to get a better view of mum getting the kids fed and washed in time for dad getting home from a hard day's er... storking(?). Whilst the storks have many home comforts there are few for you visitors. We advise you not to wear your latest Dolce and Gabanna but something a little more appropriate for sloshing about in swamp land. Also some mosquito spray may be handy. Malaria tablets, machetes and a troupe of elephants for carrying your supplies through the jungle are of course optional extras for the more serious explorer.


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