When they cross the road, city guards, police and officials enter the action. They block traffic so that mergansers can safely cross six busy lanes. Road workers warn drivers and cyclists riding the Wisłostrada that April and May are the times when birds cross the busy artery. Łukasz Wieczorek, a reporter of the “Polska i Świat” program, tells how such an operation looks like.
This year, the birds crossed the busy route for the second time, six lanes in total, this time with the help of the city guard, sometimes the traffic is stopped by the police, sometimes by the drivers themselves. “I saw the female coming onto the road, so I stopped. I spread my arms, stopped other drivers, showing the direction that something was there. She just passed, it could have ended badly – says Dr. Andrzej Kruszewicz, ornithologist, director of the Warsaw zoo.
To prevent bad things from happening, road workers warn that unexpected traffic users may appear on every side of Wisłostrada. – Any installation that will draw attention to the fact that mergansers are marching that way is useful. They are cool birds – explains Jakub Dybalski, spokesman for the Municipal Roads Authority. They are also protected and rare, as can be seen from the posters the city has put up near their route.
The ducks are helped by volunteers
The march of wild ducks across the road involves a team of people, in addition to the services and the Greenery Management, also volunteers. We were looking for people to help us monitor the area. We needed a dozen or so people, at the moment we have 170 applications – said Stefan Bobrowski from the Greenery Management. The task of volunteers is to walk around and look for the merganser mother. – Once they are at Czerniakowska, you need to notify the city guard or the police to stop the traffic, because we can’t do it – explains volunteer Iza.
The mergansers took a liking to the Royal Łazienki for breeding. When the young are born, the mother leads them to the river. The river of cars used to be impassable. Sometimes it ended tragically. – Since we coordinate and support mergansers in crossing the Wisłostrada road, there have been no such accidents – says Bobrowski.
The way to the river takes the birds a few hours a few hours, sometimes a few days. – This is a water bird that feeds on small fish, so it has to move the whole family to the Vistula River – says Dr. Kruszewicz.
Mothers go and fathers in the “men’s club”
This spring, goose mergansers may make this route several more times. – We entered their area, they did not enter ours, so you have to pay attention – the cyclist, whom the TVN24 reporter spoke to, expresses understanding. Therefore, when we meet mergansers, do not approach them, keep the dog on a leash, keep silence and do not feed. Mom will be fine. The question is where is the father. – The father in the men’s club moults and caresses his feathers – says Kruszewicz.
If you see a merganser with young: – stop and do not approach them (at a distance of less than 3-4 m); – keep dogs on a leash; – keep quiet and calm; – do not try to drive the female with her young back to the park; – do not chase them away from the road, because this is where they want to go to get to the Vistula River; – do not feed the merganser family; – try to stop pedestrians, people running, cycling or skateboarding walking at the moment; – watch the crows, they may want to kidnap a duckling that has wandered away from its mother.
Main photo source: Artur Węgrzynowicz, tvnwarszawa.pl