In the 1980s, a unique restoration programme began with the aim of recreating a functioning bird lake. The reeds were removed by specially-constructed amphibious machines, the wooded areas on the shores were cut down, the channels were dug again. To raise the level of the water by an average of 85 centimetres, a three kilometre long embankment was built on the western side of the lake. In the autumn of 1992, the water began to be raised and the work was completed in 1995.
Hundreds of cows now take care of the water meadows to enable the birds to thrive. The lake measures 30 square kilometres and is at most two metres deep during the spring. There is now plenty of water in the lake all year round and the birds have returned in large numbers. Species that disappeared at the beginning of the century are now starting to breed again at the lake. Lake Hornborga is once again a bird paradise
So an important link in the birds’ migration process is now functioning again. They can find plenty of food and shelter here as they migrate. Lake Hornborga is one of the wetland areas which Sweden has undertaken to preserve in accordance with an international agreement, the so-called Ramsar Convention
This is one of Europe’s most important bird lakes and it currently also attracts large groups of people. Beautifully situated at the foot of Billingen table mountain in an ancient countryside setting. Once a famous bird lake that was then drained by human beings. One of Sweden’s largest nature conservation projects has since recreated a living bird lake from an overgrown marsh.
Ten thousand years ago, our forefathers came here. Wandering hunters who found plenty of food at the lake. So the lake functioned as a larder for the population for thousands of years, since man began cultivating crops and keeping cattle some five thousand years ago. The lake made the surrounding areas rich. Lake Hornborga is very shallow and has a high food value. In the spring, the water rose sharply when the snow melted and the flat shores were flooded. The varying levels of the water produced fertile water meadows where both birds and grazing animals thrived. In the past, a great deal of hay was harvested here. In the 19th century, people started draining the wetlands (wet, shallow areas) to create agricultural land. In southern Sweden, almost all the wetlands were drained and many species of bird that are dependent on them have been decimated.
Lake Hornborga was also affected and, after the level of the water had been lowered five times by the 1930s, the lake almost dried out during the summer. The channels that had been dug led the water out of the lake. In spite of this, the amount of arable land that was recovered was not that great. The spring flood was far too large to enable dry land for cultivation to be created. Instead, the lake became overgrown by bushes and reeds - it became a marsh. The bird life of the past was just a memory.
Not only cranes but also thousands of other birds come to Lake Hornborga. It is a very important resting place for birds on their way north in the spring and south in the autumn. Many breeding birds also stop here during the spring and summer. So what is it that makes the lake so attractive? For the resting birds, the plentiful supply of food and the safe places to spend the night are important. They can rest, eat and supplement their fat stores so that they can manage the next stage of their journey. The lake offers an incredible amount of food for different species of bird: fish, insects, frogs, seeds, plants and other birds. Different species have different needs and they use different environments at the lake. In all, more than 100 species of bird use the lake every year. More than 50 of them breed in or by the lake. Lake Hornborga is, for example, the home of a quarter of Sweden’s black-throated terns, almost all the black-necked grebe and the largest colony of black-headed gulls
As far as I am told the lake has been drained to create new land for the farmers in the area for more than a hundered years. That lead to only 2-3 smaller lakes were it was one large lake earlier.Over the last 20 years or so Hornborgasjøen has been brought back to its original water level. That has probably been a good thing for both birds and tourists. For me as a fisherman howewer it turned out to be one of my most stupid attempts ever to catch fish.
After rowing around for 4-5hrs we gave up finding depth on more than 30-40cm. We had hired a rowing boat and a map but that did not help us any. The boat ovner had marked of good spots on places with a depth of 20cm.
Unique Suggestions: Do your research before you go. Find out where its possible to fish so you dont have to search for hours. Maybe try to look at a map to find out where the smaller lakes were. That have to be the deepest areas. Maybe you can find some Pike or Perch there.