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Claiming the Sky

Due to its shape and geographical location, the Curonian Spit acts like a bridge for migratory birds, so scientists from all Lithuania and Russia study bird migration here. 

On the Russian side, close to the border, is the oldest ornithological station in the world – the Rybachy Biological Station. Only 20 kilometres north of the Russian ornithological station, there is the Lithuanian equivalent called Ventės Ragas. Both Lithuanians and Russians use large nets to catch and ring birds to better understand their migratory patterns. On both sides, birds are also given a nationality, depending on which side of the border the bird is caught in the ornithologists’ nets. 

Lithuanian ornithologists boast of being the hardest workers, holding the world record for ringing almost one million birds. The Russians, on the other hand, claim that having the two stations so close is not efficient, as they collect the same scientific data. Finally, after several years of only sporadic contact due to the complexity of crossing to the other side of the peninsula, the two ornithological stations have started a joint cross-border project.

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