Kozmice Bird Meadows

The Kozmice Bird Meadows represent a stretch of quite contiguous alluvial meadow in the Opava River basin, between the cities of Opava and Ostrava. A seven-metre tall bird-watching tower was built deep inside the floodplain, which can be reached along a new walkway, and is flanked by seven info panels.

From this spot, bird-watchers can follow avian life throughout the nesting period, but also during migration in spring and fall. Among the birds that will reveal themselves to the patient observer are protected species, such as the Great Egret, the Sea Eagle, the Black Stork, and the Eurasian Penduline Tit, but also a great variety of more common bird species. A stork's nest has been installed on the crest of the observation tower. But not only birds live here. There is a thriving population of a rare fish species: the European Weather Loach, of the Dusky Large Blue, and of many other amphibians and reptiles. Information panels have been installed featuring QR codes, guiding visitors to a website with more detailed information, and excursions to the site are being offered to the general public. 

As in the case of so many others, this site, too, did not escape the practice of 'amelioration' and straightening of watercourses, which involved the filling and systematic draining of wetlands (in the 1960s to 1980s). In spite of this adversity, the site still retained immense value as a habitat, both zoologically and botanically. However, its condition quickly began to deteriorate, as a large portion of the meadows was ploughed under to make room for maize fields, while stands of spruce and pine saplings were planted in other parts. This resulted in a deep cut into plant habitats, and had a damaging impact on invertebrate wildlife – butterflies in particular – and on shorebirds, which are both extremely sensitive to this kind of ecological change. 

2013–2014 saw the restoration of pools of stagnant water and the revitalization of wetlands within the framework of the OPŽP programme.

In the past few decades, traditional farming has become something of a mantra in conservationist circles. This particular site, with its postponed haymaking and its ban on mulching, is a textbook example of the fact that nature can thrive even where it is under cultivation. Creating awareness and explaining this issue is one of the fundamental goals of this project. 

There is in fact more than one "bird paradise" near Ostrava. Among them are, e.g. Heřmanice Pond and Štěpán Pond, where NET4GAS and the Czech Union for Nature Conservation built educational trails in the past. 

place:Kozmice, District of Opava, Moravia-Silesia Region
Way there:From Jilešovice train station take the bike route 6128. Approx. 0.6 km from the paved road to Jilešovice/Kozmice. GPS: N 49°54.19933', E 18°8.16230'
Practical information:

Endangered plants:

Endangered animals:

European Weather Loach
European Weather Loach