Black gulls glisten gracefully on three cake-sized artificial islands in the Great Pond. Christina Roth and Janet Hooper look at the animals with relief. They think it is worth buying a nesting aid. The district office has hired women as guards, and they have to make sure the critters are good everywhere in the 49-hectare Volkspark Friedrichshain.
Since the chambers were used to raise their offspring on fountain barrels – thus halting the bubble process – conservationists devised the floating alternatives. What still worries you now: a pair of swans. With narrow eyes, Janet Hopper pins down on the small island in the middle of the Great Lake. Something oval and white the size of a tennis ball glows. Did they lay another egg? asks co-worker Janet Hooper, 31.
Pelicans in Berlin’s oldest park are forbidden to have offspring
As cool as it would be: swans are not allowed to have children in Berlin’s oldest park, which is over 170 years old. Qualified biologist and conservationist Janet Hooper says, “The trees around the pond are very tall. Baby pelicans don’t get there after they take a ride on the water.” So the offspring stay on their parents’ lands, and overpopulation is programmed. As a precaution, guards practice birth control. Put an egg, bury it in the ground – the problem is solved.
Another problem with pelicans: visitors to the park. Kristina Roth, 51, shrugs, “They feed the waterfowl,” she says. So the swans are very fat, “they already have deformed bones, and the wings are very high.” “Lots of carbs,” adds Janet Hooper. The food present such as aquatic plants, insects, snails and microorganisms is quite enough.
Signs “Do not feed!” Recently on the fence around the pond, it was making an impact. The rangers hired by The Nature Conservancy are convinced of the friendly and straightforward approach to visitors. “We want to educate park users on how to act in a way that protects nature when they visit,” explains Janet Hooper. And this poll is one of the jobs the rangers have been doing Monday through Friday for nearly two years.
Guided tours for park visitors
Together with Ruth, who is trained as a wildlife educator and city nature guide, Hopper tries to make the park a concept Cosmos on regular tours.
It’s always really exciting with the bat tour, the next one will be on September 8th. A number of bats live in the hollows of trees at Großer Bunkerberg, right next to the stadium in Friedenstraße. “But in the surrounding apartment buildings, many live behind gutters, in cracks in the facade or under gables,” says Christina Roth. Animals sleep during the day and come out at dusk. “Then the bats run around the Great Pond and look for their meals, which are mosquitoes and moths. Watching them is a rare beautiful sight.”
When can you monitor animals without keeping them away? Rangers reveal answers to questions like these in the “Urban Nature Adventure Trail” flyer. Free 90-minute walking instructions are available at the Schönbrunn Café, at the Sommerhaus KaffeeBar and at the Neuer Hain Café. The publication also reveals, for example, how coffee can be made from oak (dry, chopped, roasted) and that the plane trees that shed their bark are not sick, but have a growth spurt.
A tour of the park also reveals the plausible ways in which visitors take an interest in the animals. A large plastic water bowl in a waist-high fork maple tree. The guards noticed that someone understood something here. “There are not enough open water points in the garden, and the birds need drinking water.” After all, it has rained a lot for years, and it’s not just plants that suffer from drought. “We often see crows roaming with their beaks open. This is how they regulate their temperature balance.”
Raccoons and crows pounce on trash
On the other hand, the bad habit of some party-goers to carefully collect pizza and barbecue leftovers in trash bags and then put them next to already filled paper baskets is annoying. “On Monday mornings, it often looks like cabbage,” says Janet Hooper. Adding to the disturbance are raccoons and crows, which pounce on and scavenge garbage bags in search of something to eat.
The leisurely walk was suddenly interrupted by the loud roar and bark. Christina Roth’s German Shepherd rips Onchu’s knees, and she’d like to sneak up on her. Fit a little squirrel on the road. Frightened, he runs away, slips on a smooth flat tree and runs away.
“If Oncho hadn’t been on a leash, he would have grabbed her and killed her pretty quickly,” says Christina Roth earnestly as she comforts the dog. Twenty meters later, a man passes by with a bicycle, and a hunting dog runs away next to him. Hedgehogs and ducks, which are fought to the death, are also victims of dogs. It is best to leave dogs on a leash in the garden. Or carved in stone as a decoration in the fairy tale fountain.
You must register for the next guided tour (August 14th from 4-6pm), as well as lectures and consultation hours. Information on the phone (030) 263940 and www.stiftung-naturschutz.de