Watching Great Bustards

The Great Bustard is a globally threatened species, which is very sensitive to disturbance. For this reason, watching Great Bustards should be restricted exclusively to the area dedicated to this purpose in Lake Neusiedl National Park where raised hides are available (see map).

Beginning of May 2012 in Andau south of the “Kommassantenwiesen” the erection of a new bird observation tower started on the behalf of the Austrian Society for Great Bustard Conservation. The opening of the bird observation tower “LIFE+ Great Bustard Andau“ within the framework of the “LIFE 20th anniversary” by BM Niki Berlakovich (Lebensministerium - Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management), member of the government of Burgenland Andreas Liegenfeld, Kurt Kirchberger (head of the National Park Neusiedler See – Seewinkel), Bgm. Reinhold Reif (Austrian Society for Great Bustard Conservation) and Mag. Rainer Raab (Central European bustard coordinator and bustard supervisor) took place on May 9th, 2012under participation of over 50 regional stakeholders. Since May 16th, 2012 the bird observation tower “LIFE+ Great Bustard Andau” is completed and the tower is available to the numerous visitors of the SPA “Waasen – Hanság” seeking to observe the Great Bustards (see chapter News – LIFE+ Project Events)

Another Observation tower, which enables the quiet observation of Great Bustards in Burgenland, in the district Neusiedl am See, was officially opened on 19th May 2017 in the course of the 25 years of LIFE anniversary. The opening by representative of the government and Mayor Werner Friedl, Ing. Werner Falb-Meixner (Chairman of the ÖGG), Councilor Mag. Astrid Eisenkopg (Government of Burgenland) and Mag. Dr. Rainer Raab (Central European Bustard Coordinator) was held with the participation of several stakeholders and the press. The observation tower, which was financed by LIFE is now available to the local population, but also several bikers, which enjoy their leisure time on the bike lanes close by, can now observe Great Bustards, and other endangered bird species, like Imperial eagles and Red footed falcons, without disturbing them.

Aussichtsturm "LIFE+ Großtrappe Zurndorf"

Brief information on Great Bustards in Lake Neusiedl National Park:

The breeding range of the Great Bustard in the Hanság region was designated as a protected area in 1973 by the provincial government of Burgenland. In 1993, the area Waasen - Hanság was added to the buffer zone of Lake Neusiedl National Park, primarily because of the occurrence of Great Bustards there. It covers an area of approximately 142 ha and is surrounded by an area of fallow grassland almost twice as large again, minimizing negative impacts from intensive agriculture. Erich Patak, one of eight National Park wardens, is exclusively responsible for this site. He looks after the area, keeps in touch with farmers and hunters of the parishes of Tadten and Andau and monitored the behaviour of the Great Bustard population till 2008. Erich Patak also provided the data for the yearly report "The Great Bustard (Otis tarda) in the buffer zone Waasen - Hanság" till 2008. On June 3, 2008 3,006.5 ha are enacted as Natura2000 area “Waasen – Hanság“. From April 2009 until July 2010 the technical office for biology Mag. Rainer Raab was collecting basic information of management for Great Bustard (subject of protection) in the Natura2000 area “Waasen – Hanság” on behalf of the Burgenland government, department of nature conservation (Abt. 5/III). Habitat management measures are discussed in advance in local National Park committees, for example late haymaking on behalf of the National Park, grazing with a private herd of cattle, or water management such as holding up drainage canals.

For further information please contact:

Lake Neusiedl National Park
Information Centre
A-7142 Illmitz
Tel.: +43 2175 34420