Flying birds in foggy weather

Cloudy November weather : Migratory birds lose their bearings in the thick fog

This is the November blues: the city is sinking under a bell of fog, like being wrapped in cotton wool. The stars of the "Twilight" saga Kristen Stewart (22) and Robert Pattinson (26) have postponed their flight from Madrid to Berlin for the German premiere of their vampire flick for safety reasons, press and fans had to wait.

Otherwise the fog did not cause any problems at the Berlin airports in Tegel and Schönefeld. "All machines could take off and land," said an airport spokesman. Only one Ryan Air plane, which was on its way from Liverpool to Szczecin, Poland, had to make a stop in Schönefeld on Friday afternoon. "The plane could not land in Poland because of the fog," said the spokesman. The passengers were reportedly taken by bus to Szczecin.

According to the police, there were no more accidents in road traffic than usual because of the fog. In Brandenburg, however, the fog became a death trap for many migratory birds. During the desperate attempt to find a way out of the thick fog, more than a hundred wild geese, several cranes and swans were killed or seriously injured on Friday night. In their panic, the disoriented animals headed for highways, larger streets and buildings, the lighting of which had emerged as diffuse light sources through the fog. During the emergency landing, the birds sometimes slammed head-on into moving cars or trucks, broke their wings and legs when falling onto the roadways and fields, or hit buildings.

The Rangsdorf autobahn maintenance department alone collected 25 dead animals on the Berliner Ring by noon. Elsewhere, the officers encountered up to 20 geese running around confused and injured. The area between Potsdam and Rangsdorf on the southern outskirts of Berlin, Havelland, Teltow-Fläming and Ostprignitz-Ruppin was affected. According to the State Environment Agency, it was mainly Nordic geese that rested on their migration from Scandinavia and the Baltic states to the south in Brandenburg, a local meeting point for migratory birds.

Up to 40,000 animals gather at Rangsdorfer See each year, and more than 100,000 at Gülper See in Havelland. “The animals were disoriented. Something like this happens before, but in the past 20 years I have never encountered it in the density, ”said the President of the authorities Matthias Freude. "All navigation systems failed that foggy night."

The dense fog also hampers the animals' fitness to fly in other ways, said ornithologist Tobias Dürr from the Buckow bird sanctuary. The fine moisture makes the feathers heavy and forces the nocturnal animals to fly low. The birds must have been surprised by the fog; they mostly avoided flights in this weather. In the coming days they will be able to orientate themselves better again, on Saturday the sun comes out a little.

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