Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Increase of white stork Ciconia ciconia population attracted by artificial nesting platforms in Calabria, Italy

Published source details

Santopaolo R., Godino G., Golia S., Mancuso A., Monterosso G., Pucci M., Santopaolo F. & Gustin M. (2013) Increase of white stork Ciconia ciconia population attracted by artificial nesting platforms in Calabria, Italy . Conservation Evidence, 10, 67-69


Between 2002 and 2012, the return of breeding pairs of white storks to Calabria, Italy, was encouraged through the installation of 46 artificial circular wooden platforms, of which 35 were supported on masts, nine on utility poles, and two on iron poles. The first platform nest was built in 2007, when there were just three breeding pairs of white storks at the site. By 2012, eleven nests were on artificial platforms, and the total white stork population at these sites had risen to 12 pairs. Between 2007 and 2012, 103 juveniles fledged from 30 nests located on platforms. More young fledged from nests on artificial platforms (4.0 ± 1.0 per nest), than from nests located elsewhere (3.4 ± 0.9 per nest). These results show that artificial platforms installed in suitable areas can be an effective in helping to increase breeding populations of white storks.


Artificial platforms were installed in five study areas: Crati valley, Sibari plain, Neto valley, Cirò marina and Esaro valley.

Between 2007 and 2012 46 artificial circular wooden platforms were installed in the study areas, of which 35 were placed on masts (height 19.8 m ± 2.4 SD), nine on utility poles (height 13.4 m ± 1.5 SD), and two on specially-installed iron poles (12.0 m). Fifteen were located in the Crati valley (of which four were used by white stork), 25 in the Sibari plain (of which seven were used by white storks), three in the Neto valley (not used by white storks), two in Cirò Marina (not used by white storks), and one in the Esaro valley (not used by white storks; Table 2). The artificial platforms were constructed from the circular base flanges of discarded wooden electric cable spools of four different diameters: 100 cm, 120 cm, 125 cm and 135 cm. Wooden beams between 25 cm and 35 cm in length were secured on the external circumference of each flange. Table 2 shows the numbers of platforms present at each site every year.


White storks nested on a platform for the first time in 2007, and in 2012 92% of nests were on platforms. Between 2007 and 2012 white storks used 26% of the platforms installed in the study areas in Calabria. Figure 2 shows the numbers of juveniles flying in 2002-2012 from nests with and without platforms.

A total of 103 juveniles fledged from nests on platforms (n = 30 nests) and 79 juveniles fledged from nests not on platforms (n = 25 nests). The average number of juveniles fledged from non-platform nests was 3.4 ± 0.9 SD, while the average number of juveniles fledged from platform nests was 4.0 ± 1.0 SD.