These beautiful birds are coming quite late to middle Europe for growing their offspring. Early June is still mating time and by the end of August, they are already away to the south. They depend completely on the availability of big flying insects like bees, bumblebees, wasps, hornets, or dragonflies. Although they are native to Europe, they are quite new in more northern parts of i.e. Germany. They benefit from the warmer summers. Following the river the Danube in western direction from Romania to the Kaiserstuhl area in the south-western state of Baden-Würtemberg and then along the river Rhine to the north. For a couple of years, a tiny population is known west of Düsseldorf and another one near Porta-Westfalica next to the river Weser. A third well-known bigger population resides in the middle German state of Saxony-Anhalt.
Besides big flying insects, they need open steep slopes consisting of clay to dig their brood cavity. Such a brood cavity is usually 1-1,50 meters long and can be up to 2 meters long with a diameter of 5-7 cm. Suitable slopes can be found in some parts of some rivers or in man-made gravel pits. Surprisingly, the machines seem not to disturb the birds as long as no human shows up and enough insects are around. In addition, the slope must be big enough to offer space for more than one couple, because they live in (huge) colonies.
In Germany, bee-eaters are a protected species as it is red-listed as an endangered species.
Two and a half months ago. The same afternoon I took this image in the morning, the world started to get drowned here in western Germany. That afternoon we got the first monsoon-like hard rain out of a series with nearly daily repetition which summited (up to now) in the disaster 4 weeks ago. You might have heard about it in your news magazine on TV. Since then, we have only had a few sunny hours. Mid-July to mid-August is called Dog-days-of-summer. They are supposed as being the hottest days of the year. Usually, many people are complaining about the heat and lack of sleep because of the lack of air conditions in the sleeping rooms. IMHO, that problem isn’t the heat, it’s the moisture that makes the temperature feel hotter than it really is.
Nevertheless, instead of heat, we have too much water (rain) this year. I guess, summer is already over and we already arrived in fall without having had a summer. Only around 14°C, grey sky, and lots of rain, when the temperatures are supposed to be around 25°C or more under a blue sky.
Other regions in Europe are also complaining about bad weather: >40°C and huge wildfires endangering towns, villages, and even big cities in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Croatia, and a few more countries. Even Russia and Finland are recording all-time highs in temperatures.
Who still denies climate change? Everyone can contribute: reduce your consumption of electrical power, using green power instead of power made from coal, think twice if you really need to use your car, lower the temperature of your heating during winter by a few degrees, buy your groceries locally and do it in bulk (i.e. once a month instead of every other day). It’s not much for each of us, but summed up it contributes. In case, you want to do more, there are a lot of other options.
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One of the most beautiful and colorful birds we have natively in Germany. They are quite rare, but coming further north each year. They benefit from global warming. They hunt big insects like butterflies, hornets, dragonflies, bumblebees, and so on in-flight to make their living. They start quite late in their breeding season and leave quite early in mid-August. End of May they were still mating and not yet breeding.