Lake Constance is one of the biggest and most beautiful inland waters in Central Europe. For thousands of years, the region has been known for its fertile soils. Apples have been harvested on the lake’s shores for 4,000 years. Nowadays, wines from prime locations are celebrated throughout the world. But the success of industrialized farming and its monocultures has taken its toll: in the last 50 years, the birdlife here has dwindled dramatically. Around 65% of all native birds have disappeared.
The ornithologist Prof. Peter Berthold knows why. Wherever intensive farming is practiced on a large scale, birds and other wildlife have lost vital habitats. Natural sources of food such as wild herbs, flowering plants, and insects are missing.
In 2003, Peter Berthold started taking active steps to counter the disappearance of birdlife – with a plan as simple as it was ingenious: a closely meshed network of newly laid out ponds, hedges, reed belts, and natural orchards to give back to birds and other wild animals what they need to survive. And all this is close to built-up areas and farmland.
The film follows this unique project, in which many conservationists, farmers, and local communities are now working together. Lavish wildlife photography and aerial footage show how white storks, northern bald ibises, and rare songbird species are returning to a region they had long disappeared from.