View from the viewing balcony
The Brandenburg village of Rühstädt on the river Elbe was awarded the title "European Stork Village" in 1996 by the nature protection organisation EuroNatur.
For decades the village has been host to the largest colony of white storks in Germany. Every year around 30-35 breeding pairs return from their wintering grounds to raise their young ones on Rühstädt's rooftops.
The vast floodplains of the river Elbe offer a diverse range of feeding grounds for the storks.
And it is not just storks that make this area a fantastic place for observing wildlife!
Cranes nest in the area, as do white-tailed eagles, ospreys, red and black kites, short-eared owls and harriers.
In the winter months a large number of egrets, swans and geese overwinter here.
There are also resident families of beavers, whose characteristic gnaw marks on trees are a common sight along the banks of local rivers and lakes.
Rühstädt is situated in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve River Landscape Elbe-Brandenburg, a specially protected area.
The river Elbe is Germany's third largest and one of the last remaining near-natural rivers. Wide floodplains, vast expanses of meadows and grassland, pools and backwaters, marshland and dunes are characteristic for the landscape of the river Elbe, providing a diverse range of habitats for many rare and endangered animal and plant species.
The "Storkclub Rühstädt" is a non-profit organisation aiming to offer and safeguard a suitable and diverse habitat for the local stork population.
The work of the stork club includes maintenance of the nests, ringing of the young storks, rearing injured or abandoned stork fledglings, par-ticipation in nature protection measures e.g. creation of new biotopes and offering guided tours, education and information events.
The stork club also gets involved with monitoring and compiling breeding statistics and organising the annual stork festival (which takes place on the last Saturday in July).
The stork club offers guided tours through the village and nature field trips in English. Please send your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.