GNF - Barn-Swallow Partner Project

Barn-Swallows at Lake Baikal and Lake Constance  


Project Duration

April to September 2004


Project Goals

Pupils at Lake Baikal and at Lake Constance are taught about the importance of an intact nature and they have the opportunity to practically participate in the protection of the Barn-Swallow (Hirundo rustica):

  • The children learn to observe and how to count and record birds. They can experience nature and environment at water bodies rich of species.
  • The children learn how to protect the swallows. 
  • The children can exchange their experiences about the birds and nature with pupils in Germany respectively Russia. German and Siberian pupils learn that nature and conservation have no borders. 
  • Gathering of information about the particularities of Barn-Swallows through active observation in the nature. 
  • Improvement of the breeding result of Barn-Swallow by the installation of nesting boxes.

Pupils aged between 7 and 14 years can participate in the project. The project is supervised by local project leaders coming from village schools from the eastern shore of Lake Baikal. Furthermore leaders of environmental children groups are trained as tutors. In Germany, pupils watch birds at Lake Constance. GNF and the BUND take care of the young. Pupils, parents as well as the broad public are informed about the project via media, own publications and Internet. 

Photo: Oliver Fiedler


Practical experiences

Since April 2004, 20 members of the youth group "Jungstörche" have observed Barn-Swallows, living and nesting at the farm "Greuthof" of the Thurner family at Volkertshausen, Germany. Uschi Ehinger (GNF Project Assistant) as well as Kai Frank (Biologist of BUND Möggingen) instructed the young people, and the nesting swallows were counted and observed. 


Approximately 30 bird parents in 15 nests will arouse great interest. During the season they breed twice, sometimes thrice and raise about 100 young until autumn when they migrate south. The farm "Greuthof" with its open horse stables offers perfect  possibilities for nest-building, as barn-swallows construct their nests inside of farm buildings. Here they nest at walls, on beams or in wall bays.

Barn-Swallows have increasing difficulties in this part of the world. In addition to adequate nesting places they need mud puddles, which were usually found, years ago, in front of each farm.

Parallel to the activities in Volkertshausen, teenagers on the eastern shores of Lake Baikal are watching Barn-Swallows in barns and stables. In autumn, at the end of the "swallow" season, an exchange of data and experiences will be effected. Until then the teenagers at the "Greuthof" can still discover a lot of interesting things. 


This project is supported financially by the German foundation "Unsere Welt - Stiftung für Umwelt und Entwicklung".

Photo: Oliver Fiedler


Photo: Oliver Fiedler