Cormorant & Heron Colony

Bird Sanctuary in Juodkrantė

One of Europe's largest colonies of cormorants and grey herons is amassed in the forest 1km south of Juodkrantė. Wooden steps lead from the road to a viewing platform where the panorama of thousands of nests amid pine trees – not to mention the noise of the 6500-strong colony – is astonishing. Cormorants arrive in early February (herons a little later) to pick and rebuild their nests. By May chicks are screaming for food.

There has been an uneasy relationship between the two species ever since the birds migrated to this part of Curonian Spit in the early 19th century, with cormorants regarded as invaders that take over the herons' nests. Fisherman blame the cormorants in particular for reduced catches, but both species are protected.

Starlings, thrushes, warblers, and grey, spotted and black woodpeckers can also be seen among the trees, many of which are blackened and broken due to the impact of the immense colony of birds.