New KLF building: Month 6

September 2019: We are pleased with the progress on the construction site.

Picture: Didone Frigerio

 New Publication: Taxonomic Shifts in Philornis Larval Behaviour

Our new study reveals that the parasite Philornis downsi has undergone shifts in behaviour across taxonomic groups and in recent times as an invasive species threatening land birds on the Galapagos Islands.

Publication in "Life Cycle and Development of Diptera":

Common, L. K., Dudaniec, R. Y., Colombelli-Négrel, D., Kleindorfer, S. (2019) Taxonomic Shifts in Philornis Larval Behaviour and Rapid Changes in Philornis downsi Dodge & Aitken (Diptera: Muscidae): An Invasive Avian Parasite on the Galápagos Islands. In: Life Cycle and Development of Diptera. DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.88854

Download the pdf here.

 Jane Goodall interview

Picture: Daniela Matejschek

On 11 September 2019, Sonia Kleindorfer interviewed Jane Goodall at the Hotel Bristol in Vienna. Jane shared memories of Konrad Lorenz and spoke about the value of citizen scientists and youth engagement programs for a healthy planet.

During 1989-1990 Sonia was the site co-director for the Animal Behaviour Research Unit at Mikumi National Park in Tanzania where Sonia studied free-ranging baboons. Jane Goodall helped pick out and establish the site.

Later Sonia spent a few weeks with Jane Goodall, Anthony Collins and Christophe Boesch observing chimpanzees at Gombe stream. Sonia arrived on the same canoe as Jane and before they arrived on shore, Jane gave a chimp greeting call from the boat that was answered by chimps in the forest.

In 1991, Sonia was a volunteer with Jane and her team to help organise fundraising for the launch of the Roots and Shoots program. Sonia helped organise and then attend the main fund raising dinner in Tanzania with former President Mwinyi.

In 2006, Jane was awarded an Honorary doctorate from Flinders University and Sonia said hello to her at Town Hall in Adelaide.

In 2019, Sonia interviewed Jane again after they had first met 30 years prior.

 New Paper published

Picture: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

Primary school children as citizen scientists!

Pupils conducted a two-year survey to assess the knowledge of the public regarding the knowledge about the northern bald ibis and the attitude towards science. The percentage of correct answers increased over the years. Furthermore, pupils acted as multipliers of scientific knowledge and were encouraged through education-based activities and the regular contact to scientists.

Publication in "PeerJ":

Frigerio, D., Puehringer-Sturmayr, V., Neuböck-Hubinger, B., Gegendorfer, G., Kotrschal, K., Hirschenhauser, K. (2019) Monitoring public awareness about the endangered northern bald ibis: a case study involving primary school children as citizen scientists. PeerJ 7:e7569

Download the pdf here.

 NestCams officially released on Zooniverse

Check it out!

NestCams has been officially released on Zooniverse. In this project you can help scientists (a team around behavioural biologist Didone Frigerio) of the Konrad Lorenz Research Centre to take a closer look at the incubation behaviour of greylag geese and northern bald ibis. Since 2018, the breeding huts of the greylag geese and the breeding niches of the northern bald ibis have been equipped with cameras. Short video sequences will give an insight into the incubation behaviour and why some pairs are successful breeders and others not.

You would like to help us and watch greylag geese and northern bald ibis up close during the breeding season? Then follow this LINK to the project.

Have fun!

Picture: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

 New paper published

Picture: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

Social context in early stages of life has long-term effects on greylag geese

Being socially active is not only a must for people. A team led by the behavioural biologists Didone Frigerio and Georgine Szipl from the Konrad Lorenz Research Centre investigated how integration into the group affects physiology, agonistic interactions and fitness in greylag geese.

Conclusion: The social context in early life stages has long-term effects on the animals.

Publication in "Scientific Reports":

Szipl, G., Depenau, M., Kotrschal, K., Hemetsberger, J., Frigerio, D. (2019) Costs and benefits of social connectivity in juvenile Greylag geese. Scientific Reports 9: 12839

Press release of the University of Vienna

 New KLF building: Month 5

August 2019: There's something going on at the construction site!

 New students

We would like to warmly welcome our new students and pupil interns!

Master students:

  • Milena Holzer: Common ravens
  • Kevin Schirz: Northern bald ibises


  • Ines Meyer: Common ravens
  • Ana Tomašić: Common ravens

Visiting students from Australia:

  • Lauren Common: Evolving relationship between Darwin's finches and Philornis downsi fly
  • Claire Lawrance: Non-invasive identification of Koalas using facial recognition

Pupil interns:

  • Valentin Föger
  • Felix Hirschenhauser
  • Kerstin Stadler
  • Elias Stoik
  • Francesca Hemetsberger

Our pupil interns are also actively helping to dismantle the nest cameras from the breeding huts of the greylag geese.

Picture: Kerstin Stadler

Picture: Kerstin Stadler

Picture: Kerstin Stadler

 New paper published

Picture: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

A new paper on how pupils (8- to 10-year old) learning and science commitment was influenced by the active involvement in learning opportunities with the Northern Bald Ibis and researchers was published. The pupils showed a clear learning progress on the Northern Bald Ibis behaviour in particular and a general interest in birds especially on a long timescale.

Publication in "PLoS ONE":

Hirschenhauser, K., Frigerio, D., Leighinger, V., Schenkenfelder, I., Neuböck-Hubinger, B. (2019). Primary pupils, science and a model bird species: Evidence for the efficacy of extracurricular science education. PLoS ONE 14(7): e0220635

 New KLF building

Picture: Didone Frigerio

A first insight into the building plan of our new research center. There will be plenty of space for offices and laboratories. We are very excited about the building plan and look forward to moving.

 New KLF building: Month 4

July 2019: The crane's up, the diggers are there. Now the construction of the new KLF building can begin.

 ARTE film team

Foto: Valentin Föger

A film team from ARTE visited the KLF to make a film about the current research on the greylag geese. The film will be broadcasted in the next year. Stay tuned!

 New KLF building: Month 3

June 2019: The excavators are already at work.

 Workshop: Science communication with children and young people

Foto: Sonia Kleindorfer

Last Wednesday Bernhard Weingartner was with us at the Konrad Lorenz Research Center and exchanged experiences and tips with us in order to prepare science communication with this very special target group in terms of content, organisation and dramaturgy.

We received tips and did exercises according to the motto: Simplify with catchy pictures, metaphors and comparisons according to age - but still don't tell fairy tales!

Thank you very much - it was very exciting, we learned a lot!!!

 Post-doc position available

Foto: KLF Archiv

A 6-year post-doc position at the Konrad Lorenz Research Station (Department of Behavioural Biology, University of Vienna) is available and announced by Prof. Dr. Sonia Kleindorfer. We search for a researcher with expertise in bioacoustics and a sincere interest in studying animals in their natural environments, notably ravens and greylag geese, but also Darwin's finches on the Galapagos islands. For more information please click on this link.

 News from the Galapagos Islands

Foto: K. Peters

Sonia Kleindorfer and colleagues published another exciting paper about the effects of a parasitic fly on the naris size of Darwin's finches living on the Galapagos Islands. The naris size influences song characteristics. The study was published in the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and shows that birds with enlarged naris size produce song that are not species-specific anymore, and are easily mistaken for the song of closely related species. Thus, the risk of hybridization increases.

 New students

We welcome our new students Julie Thuillier from the Université de Reims (Master student) and Florian Ramberger from the University of Vienna (internship). Both are investigating the ontogeny of soical interactions in ravens.

Working Title: Effect of clutch size on social interactions between juvenile ravens.

 How having a partner and a family changes the stress levels of greylag geese

In this paper, researchers found that the stress level of greylag geese depends on the pair-bond status as well as the season. Thus, having a social partner is important in order to cope with stress.

The paper "Social and environmental factors modulate leucocyte profiles in free-living Greylag geese (Anser anser)" was newly published in the Journal "Frontiers for Young Minds" to make it also accessible for young readers! Science for kids, edited by kids - In this journal scientists write a manuscript which is reviewed by a board of kids and teens.

It's a great opportunity for young minds to learn about new findings in science and to engage the next generation of citizens and scientists. Interested? Write us an email if you would like to review a manuscript from scientists.

Congratulations to this publication in the journal "Frontiers for Young Minds"!

Publication in "Frontiers for Young Minds":

Frigerio, D., Hemetsberger, F., Wascher, C. A. F. (2019). How Having a Parnter and a Family Changes the Stress Levels of Greylag Geese. Frontiers for Young Minds, 7:68. doi: 10.3389/frym.2019.00068

 New KLF building: Month 1

April 2019: It's happening! The area of the new building for the research station has already been marked and the trees have been felled.


Matthias Loretto managed to get a highly competitive grant from the European Commission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship). For this project he will transfer to the renowned Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell (Germany). From there he will spend several research stays in the Yellowstone National Park (USA) investigating the interactions between ravens and wolves. Congratulations!

 New publication

Congratulations to Sonia Kleindorfer (head of the KLF) and her colleagues on the publication of this field guide. The booklet is sold at the Charles Darwin Research Station on the Galapagos. All proceeds are being used to fund conservation projects and research.

 Happy Easter!

We wish you all a Happy Easter, lots of fun with the egg hunt and relaxing holidays!

Picture: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

Picture: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

 New alumnus: Sabrina Jungheim

Congratulations to our master student, Sabrina Jungheim, on her Master of Science at the University of Vienna.

Topic of her Master thesis: Wolves changing enclosures - effects on spatio-temporal patterns

Congratulations and all the best for the future!

 The Biologicum Almtal goes into the next round!

Biologicum Almtal

This year for the 6th time the Biologicum will take place from 3 to 5 October 2019 in Grünau im Almtal.

Topic Biologicum Almtal: Warum wir so sind wie wir sind. Ein frischer Blick auf die Evolution

Junior Biologicum

This year for the first time with a new concept. Under the motto "Forsche Jugend diskutiert mit" pupils from the 9th grade onwards can discuss central topics of modern biology for one day. A special focus is on Citizen Science. The Junior Biologicum will take place on the 3 October 2019 in Grünau im Almtal.

Topic Junior Biologicum: Warum wir so sind wie wir sind. Ein frischer Blick auf die Evolution. Mit Impulsvorträgen und Science Café

The early bird registration is available until 15 July 2019.

Further information on the topic, the lecturers, registration and registration fees can be found here.

 The Citizen Science Award 2019 has started!

Foto: KLF archive

You now have the opportunity to participate until 5th July 2019. Join in and have fun while doing research!

The project "NestCams" of the Konrad Lorenz Research Station is also part of the Citizen Science Award. During the research period citizen scientists can watch and code short video sequences of breeding greylag geese and northern bald ibises, i.e. determine what the birds are doing on the nest. Just register on the platform Zooniverse and go to the project "NestCams" via this LINK or visit the website for more information!



­­­Nice prices await the winners!

1st price | 1000 EUR for the best school class

2nd price | 750 EUR for the second best school class

3rd price | material price for the best single person


For organisational reasons, prizes will only be awarded to participants from Austria.

DON'T FORGET: if you are going to compete for the Citizen Science Award, please send an email with your

  • Zooniverse user name,
  • email address and
  • contact information


We are proud to announce that already more than 1000 videos have been coded by citizen scientists on the first day of the Citizen Science Award! A big thank you to all who are participating and helping us with our research! is now online!

On this new website the Konrad Lorenz Research Station presents its and other international projects, through which one can directly participate as a Citizen Scientist in avian research. In addition, there is already more detailed information on the participation in the Citizen Science Award 2019 of the Center for Citizen Science.

 New paper published: Parents' vigilance increases survival chances of greylag geese goslings

Foto: Josef Hemetsberger

Did you know that greylag geese goslings have a better chance at survival when their parents invest more time in being aggressive and vigilant rather than foraging. Especially parental division of labour plays an important role. If you are interested to know more about this topic, please check out the following paper.

Publication in „Journal of Ornithology“:

Szipl, G., Loth, A., Wascher, C.A.F., Hemetsberger, J., Kotrschal, K., Frigerio, D. (2019). Parental behaviour and family proximity as key to gosling survival in Greylag Geese (Anser anser). Journal of Ornithology, DOI:

 New student

We welcome our new student Floor Eline Boekelman from the University of Groningen (Netherlands), who is working on her Masters thesis on the relationship between the individual variation in food calling and foraging decisions in wild ravens.

 New alumnus: Christiane Steinbacher

Congratulations to our master student, Christiane Steinbacher, for passing her master's exam at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna with an A.

Topic of her Master thesis: Social integration of juvenile ravens into a non-breeder group

We are happy that Christiane started to work now as a project assistant in our GreyBis4socs research group, where she takes care of the Apps "Forschen im Almtal" and "WaldrApp".

We wish you all the best for the future!



 Merry Christmas

Foto: Sonia Kleindorfer

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 New head of the KLF

We welcome our new head of the Konrad Lorenz Research Station, Prof. Dr. Sonia Kleindorfer, and look forward to working together!

Prof. Dr. Sonia Kleindorfer is an organismal systems biologist with a research focus on how animal behaviour shapes evolutionary dynamics in birds and parasites. She did her university study at University of Pennsylvania (Bachelor: Biological Basis of Behaviour), University of Vienna (PhD: Zoology), and University of Washington School of Medicine (Postdoc: Medicine). Field work underpins Sonia’s core research activity, which she conducts in Australia and the Pacific Islands (Galapagos, Fiji). She is Scientific Director of the Flinders Research Centre for Climate Adaptation and Animal Behaviour. She received the D.L. Serventy Medal in 2016 for outstanding research contribution to ornithology.

 New alumnus: Tanja Czerny

We would like to congratulate our master student, Tanja Czerny, for passing her master's exam with an A.

Topic of the Master thesis: Investigating social structure in Northern Bald Ibises (Geronticus eremita) by applying social network analysis

Congratulations and good luck for the future!

 Citizen Science Awards 2018 ceremony

The Citizen Science Awards 2018 ceremony took place in the Kuppelsaal of the Vienna University of Technology. The most dedicated Citizen Scientists were honored for their participation in one of 6 research projects. Within the framework of this event, interested people were able to get to know the 6 projects throughout the day through guided tours, workshops and hands-on stations.

We would like to congratulate the winners of this year's Citizen Science Award 2018 and in particular the committed Citizen Scientists of Forschen im Almtal.

The winners of Forschen im Almtal:

1st place 4B HAK of BBS Rohrbach, Price: 1.000€

2nd place 1B of the NMS Timelkam, Price: 750€

3rd place Martina Weingärtner, price: 500€ voucher for the Cumberland Game Park Grünau



Click here for the press release.

Foto: OeAD/APA-Fotoservice/Hörmandinger

Fotograf: Martin Hörmandinger

Foto: OeAD/APA-Fotoservice/Hörmandinger

Fotograf: Martin Hörmandinger

Foto: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

Foto: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

Foto: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

Foto: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

 Master/PhD/Post doc positions available

Master project on vocal behaviour of wild ravens

Application deadline: 10 November 2018

PhD project on avian pairbond behaviour and social dynamics in a comparative setting and upon support by citizen scientists

Application deadline: 15 November 2018

Joined post doc position by Prof. Dr. Thomas Bugnyar and Prof. Dr. Sonia Kleindorfer. This position shall intensify the cooperation between the Department of Cognitive Biology and Behavioural Biology at the Konrad Lorenz Research Station Grünau.

Application deadline: 30 November 2018

For more information please click here.

 New paper published: Those who live in a good partnership digest better

Stable social relationships in greylag geese help the digestion, which could increase the reproductive success in the following breeding season. The digestive efficiency was higher in pairs with offspring than in pairs without offspring or singles. This suggests that there is an interaction between the social environment and the digestive efficiency.   

Publication in „Scientific Reports“:

Frigerio, D., Kotrschal, K., Fabro, C., Puehringer-Sturmayr, V., Iaiza, L., Hemetsberger, J., Mason, F., Sarnataro, C., Filacorda, S. (2018). Social context modulates digestive efficiency in greylag geese (Anser anser). Scientific Reports, 8: 16498.

 Proceedings of the Austrian Citizen Science Conference 2018 online

We are pleased that the proceedings of the Austrian Citizen Science Conference 2018 are now online and ready for download.

The Austrian Citizen Science Conference is organised annually by the Citizen Science Network Austria. The conference took place in Salzburg in February 2018 and researchers from the Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle presented their work. The talk and the poster have now been published in an article entitled "Involving pupils/citizens in long-term behavioural biology research: Lessons learnt and future perspectives".

Since 2010 the Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle actively involves pupils in research in the field of behavioural biology. In the present project, the visitors of the Cumberland game park Grünau were involved in the data collection on the spatio-temporal behavioural patterns of greylag goose families during the breeding season.

Have fun reading!

 New project in the Yellowstone National Park

Together with Prof. Thomas Müller and Kim Kortekaas, Prof. Thomas Bugnyar and Mario Gallego helped Dr. Matthias Loretto to conduct a pilot study in the Yellowstone National Park. Dr. Matthias Loretto got recently funded with a Marie Curie Fellowship to conduct a new research on raven-wolve interaction, which will begin in fall 2019.

Congratulations Matthias and all the best for your new project!

 International Raven Meeting in Maine

Prof. Thomas Bugnyar, Dr. Matthias Loretto and Mario Gallego travelled to the USA to attend the International Raven Meeting in Maine, which was hosted by Bernd Heinrich. An incredible opportunity to share ideas with co-workers and get updated on the current research conducted on Common Ravens (Corvus corax).

 Pictures of the photo competition published

Foto: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

We are excited to announce that the pictures of the winners of the photo competition "My Research in one Picture" of the University of Vienna were published in the Heureka this week. The Northern Bald Ibis picture "Let's cuddle darling" shot by Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr (PhD candidate at the KLF), which made the 2nd place in the competition, is also featured.

 Summer School on Citizen Science in Theory and Practice

The summer school on the topic "Citizen Science in Theory and Practice" took place from 15 to 19 October 2018 in Grünau im Almtal (location: JUFA Hotel Almtal). The event was organized by 3 PhD candidates of the Vienna Doctoral School CoBeNe of the University of Vienna. Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr and Lara Iaiza are working on social behaviour in Northern Bald Ibises and Greylag geese at the Core Facility KLF, whereas Arno Cimadom is working on the ecology of Galapagos finches at the Deapartment of Behavioural Biology in Vienna.

Citizen science is becoming increasingly important within the research community, as one can gain large, spatially and temporally scaled data sets. But how to get citizen scientists interested and how to deal with big data? What makes a successful study and where to publish your data? All these questions and more where addressed during the summer school via keynote talks held by international experts, workshops and discussions.

We would like to thank our speakers Peter BROWN from the Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge), Daniel DÖRLER from the University of Natural Resources and Life Science (Vienna), Didone FRIGERIO from the Core Facility Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle of the University of Vienna (Grünau im Almtal), Florian HEIGL from the University of Natural Resources and Life Science (Vienna), Philipp HUMMER from SPOTTERON Citizen Science (Vienna), Coleman KRAWCZYK from the University of Portsmouth (Portsmouth), Tina PHILLIPS from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Ithaca), Anett RICHTER from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (Leipzig) and Andrea SIEBER from the Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt (Klagenfurt) for their interesting talks and discussions. You and all the participants made our summer school to a great event.

 Badge for merit and retirement party

We cordially congratulate Kurt Kotrschal to the Golden Badge for Merit of the State of Upper Austria, which he is awarded with on the 15 November 2018. We already celebrated during the Biologicum Almtal - where many companions, current and former employees and colleagues came together for the retirement of Kurt Kotrschal - and recalled the last 30 years in words and pictures! Dear Kurt, we wish you all the best for the future!

 Citizen Science Award-Day 2018

The award ceremony for the Citizen Science Award 2018 will take place in Vienna on 12 November 2018. As part of the gala, the entire day is dedicated to Citizen Science. The Center for Citizen Science, together with the six research projects, invites all participants of the Citizen Science Award to participate. From 10:00 to 15:00, all school classes and individual persons who have participated in one of the six projects have the opportunity to visit guided tours, workshops and hands-on workshops to get to know the different research projects. We are there and are available for you in the UZA II (Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna) with playful hands-on stations, video-coding, spotting and a Science Café.

More information about the program and the registration can be found here.

 Ground-breaking ceremony for the new research center

Foto: Rooobert Bayer

Finally the time has come. On Saturday, 6 October 2018, the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Konrad Lorenz Research Center near the Cumberland game park Grünau took place. Deputy Governor Michael Strugl, Vice Rector Regina Hitzenberger, former Vice Rector Karl Schwaha, former Head of the Konrad Lorenz Research Center Kurt Kotrschal, Managing Director of the Wildpark Bernhard Lankmaier and President of the Wildpark Operators Association Johann Vielhaber were present. The main section of the new building will be similiar to the "Auingerhaus" (current research center). Also, more space is created for offices, laboratories and seminar rooms. We are already looking forward to the move to the new building!

You will find more information here.

 European Researchers' Night

On Friday, 28 September 2018, the European Researchers' Night - Sci4all - takes place from 10 AM until 12 PM at the TGM (Wexstraße 19-23, 1200 Vienna). This time we are also part of this amazing event and will inform you about the ongoing research at the KLF, our Citizen Science projects and how you can join our research as a Citizen Scientist. Come visit us at our stand! Suitable for the young as well as the older prospective researchers.

 New student and social service

We welcome our new student Fabio Ribelli from the University of Turin (Italy) and new social service Michael Auinger! Fabio is doing an internship working with free-ranging common ravens and is collecting data for his Master thesis.

 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society

The 48th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland took place from 10th to 14th September 2018 at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna. One of the sessions was all about long-term monitoring of biodiversity using Citizen Science as a method. Didone Frigerio was presenting her work on "Involving pupils in long-term biological monitoring: lessons learnt and future perspectives".

Click here if you would like to know more about the Citizen Science Session.

 Upcoming Symposium October 4th to 6th!

The annual symposium "Biologicum Almtal" will be held again this year from October 4th to 6th in the beautiful Alm valley in Grünau, Upper Austria. Register now, as the number of participants is limited!

Go to registration

 Science made in Austria

The KLF was selected as one of Austria’s top research institutions by the Austrian Science Fund, FWF. In their brochure, the FWF listed several locations of excellent basic research “made in Austria”.

You can download the full brochure here.

 2nd place in the photo competition "My Research in one Picture"!

Foto: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

Our colleague Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr made the 2nd place in the photo competition "My Research in one Picture" of the University of Vienna. The photo competition aims at helping early stage researchers to communicate their research and become more visible. Verena is currently working on her PhD thesis with Northern Bald Ibises, and submitted the picture (on the left) "Let's cuddle darling".






 The Gertrud Pleskot Award goes to Georgine Szipl

Foto: Katharina Buchegger

Congratulations to Georgine Szipl, who was awarded with the Gertrud Pleskot Award!

Which project or publication makes you proud the most?

Basically all my publications make me proud, because they are the result of hard work together with many talented colleagues. At the moment, I'm very proud of our latest work Attacked raven's flexibly adjust signaling behavior according to audience composition in Proceedings B. Despite excellent results, it has been a long and rocky road to publication, with much criticism and many rejections.

What are the challenges for young scientists and where do you see yourself in the future?

One of the biggest challenges for me is to confidently "woman" up in science and to not let criticism and setbacks get in the way, but to use them for yourself to get better. In the future, I would like to continue to do basic research, but to also put a new emphasis on the transfer of knowledge.

 Visitors at the KLF

On Friday, 25 May 2018, Karin Garstenauer (Managing Director, Phytopharma), Karin Boldt (Veterinary medicine and Animal Photography), Dr. Ing. Karin Rahman (Management, Sonnen Apotheke Gunskirchen) and Mag. Ingrid Haslauer (Management, bocom Corporate Communications GmbH) visited us. We introduced them to our Northern bald ibis colony and the ongoing projects as well as to our research. In particular, our cooperation involves bringing our research and projects to the attention of the general public, as well as raising the awareness of the society for nature (e.g. endangered species).

On Saturday, 9 June 2018, we once again welcome a group of Phytopharma at the KLF and the Naturtierpark Grünau.

We are looking forward to the visit and the cooperation!

Foto: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

Foto: Christiane Steinbacher

 The first Northern bald ibis chicks fledged!

The first Northern bald ibis chicks fledged and were marked with coloured leg rings for individual identification. They can soon be observed in the meadows of Grünau im Almtal together with their parents and siblings. After fledging, they begin to independently search for food such as insects, earthworms, snails, etc.; but they still keep begging the parents for food, who skillfully ignore the begging calls. The juvenile Northern bald ibises can be distinguished from the adults by the grey feathers on their head. If you see Northern bald ibises in the meadows, you are welcome to spot them with our app "WaldrApp" and help us to investigate the ecological aspects of habitat selection of the Northern bald ibis.

Thank you very much!

Foto: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

Foto: Christiane Steinbacher

 New Paper Published!

Foto: Georgine Szipl

Our latest study on ravens shows that ravens strategically adjust their calling to the composition of the audience. They call their allies to help them, but avoid calling if allies of the aggressors are in the audience.

Publication in "Proceedings B":

Szipl, G., Ringler, E., & Bugnyar, T. (2018). Attacked ravens flexibly adjust signalling behaviour according to audience composition. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 285(1880), 20180375.

 Donation for our Northern Bald Ibises

We would like to thank Phytopharma GmbH & Co.KG in Ternberg and especially Ms Karin Garstenauer (CEO) for the generous donation. This financial support is used for high quality food, such as insects, during the breeding season.

Thank you so much!

 Summer School 2018

Foto: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr


It is our pleasure to announce the Summer School 2018: Citizen Science in Theory and Practice which will take place from 15 to 19 October 2018 at the JUFA Hotel Almtal in Grünau im Almtal, Austria. The summer school is organised by PhD fellows of the Vienna Doctoral School CoBeNe (University of Vienna, Austria), which financially supports this event, and will be held in cooperation with the Konrad Lorenz Research Station and the Cumberland game park Grünau, where several Citizen Science (CS) projects are taking place. We will cover all relevant topics associated with CS: from the value of CS, planning a study, funding, designing apps and motivating citizens (i.e. communication and recruitment) to analysing big scattered data sets, presenting and publishing results.

For more information, please see the save the date flyer or visit: and

We are looking forward to welcoming you at the summer school!



 New Paper Out!

Foto: Maria Lankmaier

A review on the synergies and challenges of Citizen Science in wildlife biology was published in Ethology. The review presents several case studies which show that Citizen Science can be applied successfully to research projects in wildlife biology.

Publication in "Ethology":

Frigerio, D., Pipek, P., Kimmig, S., Winter, S., Melzheimer, J., Diblíková, L., et al. (2018). Citizen science and wildlife biology: Synergies and challenges. Ethology, 4, e6968.

 A Night at the Museum

The Konrad Lorenz Research Station participated in the "Lange Nacht der Forschung" in Vienna. This event aims at informing people about ongoing scientific projects. More than 1600 visitors came to learn about our project with Citizen Scientists on the habitat use of Northern Bald Ibises and behavioural observations on Greylag geese, Common ravens and Northern Bald Ibises in the Cumberland Wildlife ParkPhilipp J. Hummer from Spotteron (, who developed the App for our project, created a video which is available on Youtube.

Foto: Didone Frigerio

Foto: Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr

 The First Goslings Have Hatched!!

The first little goslings have hatched today and they already wander around in the Cumberland Gamepark with their proud parents.

 New Students!

We welcome our new students Merit Pokriefke from the University of Freiburg (Germany) and Alberto Mair from the University of Padova (Italy)! Merit is doing a comparative study for her Bachelor thesis on the egg weight of greylag geese and northern bald ibises. Albert works with the captive common ravens and investigates the social interactions of chicks in respect to clutch size.


The breeding season has started. While Heidi and Tom - one of our common raven couples - already have chicks in their nest, the greylag geese are still busy incubating the eggs. Due to the long-lasting snow cover, the northern bald ibises have started to lay eggs very late and in some cases still have to build their nests.

We wish you a Happy Easter and have fun with the easter egg hunt!

 Cambridge Science Festival

The school class 6a of the Körner Gymnasium Linz joined us for the Cambridge Science Festival from 23rd to 25th of March. The pupils presented their work within the project GRASS. More than 100 people came and were curious about the research at the KLF.

We thank the pupils for their great work and motivation at the festival!

 New Master Student!

We welcome our new Master student Sabrina Jungheim from the University of Vienna! Sabrina works with the European wolves at the Cumberland game park Grünau and will monitor the behavioural effects of transfering them to a new enclosure.

 Raven Food Calls Indicate Sender’s Age and Sex

A new study revealed that food-associated calls emitted by ravens to alert conspecifics to feeding sites varied in call duration and amplitude-related features according to sender's age and sex.

Publication in "Frontiers in Zoology":

Boeckle, M, Szipl, G., & Bugnyar, T. (2018). Raven food calls indicate sender's age and sex. Frontiers in Zoology, 15(3), 5.

 The Role of Storytelling In Science

Two researchers from Austria, among them Dr. Didone Frigerio from the Konrad Lorenz Research Station, visited the Department of Ecosystem Services in Leipzig with a COST Action grant for a 10-day workshop on the significance of storytelling for Citizen Science. An article about the workshop by Dr. Annett Richter can be found here.

 New Master Student!

We welcome our new Master student Ines Mayer from the University of Vienna! Ines will investigate the intentions behind food calling behaviour in free-ranging ravens!

 That was the Citizen Science Action Day 2018...

As part of the 4th Austrian Citizen Science Conference, an action day was organized in the city of Salzburg on Saturday, February 3, 2018 in the spirit of "Citizens Participate in Research!". We were also represented with a stand on the topic of "Greylag geese, northern bald ibis and common ravens: Citizen Science in the Almtal region". Many interesting stations, such as "Project Roadkill", "Game of Clones - Pupils model the spread and control of the Japanese knotweed", "(Ent)Zündende Sehnenforschung", "BLACK.ICE - the glaciers become greener" and "Stall Catchers" invited to join in and immerse in the research.

 Greylag geese adjust their body temperature to season and reproductive context

The researchers investigated energy management in greylag geese. The results show that geese cope with the winter climate by reducing their heart rate and body temperature.

Publication in "Scientific Reports":

Wascher, C.A.F., Kotrschal, K., Arnold, W. (2018) Free-living greylag geese adjust their heart rates and body core temperatures to season and reproductive context. Scientific Reports 8(1): 2142

 Pairbond with Benefits

The breeding season is very challenging for northern bald ibis parents. As a result the immune system of the birds is additionally burdened and there is an increased risk of infection. However, being well embedded in a social network may reduce stress. This was detected in the present study. The researchers accompanied the northern bald ibises during and outside the breeding season and examined the stress hormones of the animals.

Publication in "PLOS ONE":

Puehringer-Sturmayr, V., Wascher, C.A.F., Loretto, M.-C., Palme, R., Stoewe, M., Kotrschal, K., Frigerio, D. (2018) Seasonal differences of corticosterone metabolite concentrations and parasite burden in northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita): The role of affiliative interactions. PLoS ONE 13(1): e0191441

 New PhD Candidate

We welcome our new colleague Lara Iaiza from the University of Udine! Lara will join us for the next three years for her PhD with Dr. Didone Frigerio on avian pair-bond behaviour and social dynamics in a comparative setting, supported by citizen scientists.

 Visit of the Pupils of the Talenteakademie

What’s the name of this common raven? Do common ravens prefer left or right? What is telemetry and how does it work? Do paired greylag geese behave differently compared to singles?

These exciting questions were answered together with the pupils of the talente Hochbegabtenförderung Upper Austria (Schloss Traunsee Academy) in December 2017. Within three days the pupils got a small insight into the work of the scientists of the Konrad Lorenz Research Station. During the practical part, they were able to deepen the learned theory and to record and evaluate their own data. The students were able to recognize selected common ravens by their wing tags and test whether the clever black birds prefer left or right if they have the choice between two pieces of food. In a scavenger hunt GPS stations were hidden, which the students should find using telemetry. Finally, the students observed whether there is a difference in the behavior of paired and unpaired greylag geese. We see this event as a task within the Third Mission of the University of Vienna. The feedback was very positive, a follow-up course will take place in February.

 Calls during agonistic interactions vary with arousal and raise audience attention in ravens

The authors show that defensive calls uttered during aggressive interactions between Common ravens encode arousal-based changes previously shown to vary with arousal in mammals. Furthermore, experimentally manipulated defensive calls were played back to test the responses of bystanding ravens to calls indicating increased arousal.

Publication in "Frontiers in Zoology":

Szipl, G., Ringler, E., Spreafico, M., & Bugnyar, T. (2017). Calls during agonistic interactions vary with arousal and raise audience attention in ravens. Frontiers in Zoology, 14(1), 57.

 Differential responses to gosling distress calls in parental and non-parental Greylag Geese

The authors investigated the responses of parental and non-parental males and females to the distress calls of their own and foreign goslings. Parental geese responded to any distress calls with vigilance, irrespective of the familiarity. Non-parental geese showed increased comfort behaviour instead. In parental geese, the females were more vigilant than parental males, suggesting differences in parental investment between males and females.

Publication in "Journal of Ornithology":

Loth, A., Frigerio, D., Kotrschal, K., & Szipl, G. (2017). Differential responses to gosling distress calls in parental and non-parental Greylag Geese. Journal of Ornithology 159(2), 401-412.

 Il comportamento "motore dell'evoluzione"?

We draw the attention on the course held by the Postgraduate School of Philosophy, Ethics and Ethology (University of Cassino, Italy) with this year's topic on "Il comportamento motore dell'evoluzione?" (Is the behaviour the engine of evolution?), where Prof. Dr. Kurt Kotrschal is participating.

If you are interested, please find more information on the website or download the programme here.

 Visit of the Dean's Team

The dean's team, together with the dean's office staff of the Faculty of Life Sciences, visited us from the 2nd to the 3rd of November. The social programme included a visit of the Konrad Lorenz Research Station with the greylag geese flock, a slow-paced walk through der Cumberland gamepark Grünau visiting the northern bald ibis and corvid aviaries as well as a visit to Oberganslbach and the Almsee.

We very much enjoyed the visit!

 Family size modulates different components of the immune system in fledgling Greylag geese

A new paper on "Leucocyte profiles and family size in fledgling Geylag Geese (Anser anser)" was recently published. The authors investigated whether leucocyte profiles in fledglings are influenced by family size, individual charcteristics (i.e. age, body condition or sex) or characteristics of the parents (i.e. previous reproductive success). Family size may have a stress-reducing effect.

Publication in "Avian Biology Research":
Wascher, C. A. F., Hemetsberger, J., Kotrschal, K., & Frigerio, D. (2017). Leucocyte profiles and family size in fledgling Geylag Geese (Anser anser). Avian Biology Research10(4), 246–252.

 Austrian conservation price goes to Prof. Dr. Kurt Kotrschal!

The "Naturschutzbund" awarded Kurt Kotrschal with the Austrian conservation price on Thursday, 19 October 2017. He was honored for his achievements in representing environmental scientific topics and his civil courage in conservation.


 New PhD position available!

We are happy to announce a new PhD position at the Konrad Lorenz Research Station in Grünau im Almtal (Upper Austria):

  • Research field of animal behaviour
  • 3 years
  • 20 hours per week
  • Free accommodation at the KLF

Please find more information in the attachment and feel free to spread the announcement to colleagues and friends.

Thank you in advance!

 New projects started

Three projects (PI Dr. Didone Frigerio) started at the beginning of September 2017.

  1. Visible Science
    Which behavioural patterns modulate the reproductive success of long-term monogamous pair bonds (e.g. between ravens or greylag geese)? Which behavioural patterns differ between ravens and Northern bald ibises, even though they show similar breeding strategies? The data collection via videos (provided on a platform) and an App will enable lay people to be actively involved in this project, which will mainly take place at the Cumberland wildpark in Gr
    ünau im Almtal.

    Forschen im Almtal (Android, Apple)
    Link to the project:

  2. GRASS: Greylag geese as a model for animal social systems - Modulation of circannual behavioural and foraging patterns by social factors: the Greylag goose (Anser anser) as a model
    We investigate the modulation of circannual behavioural and foraging patterns by social factors. Pupils will participate in this project by joining the survey of the time-space pattern of the greylag geese and by acting as multipliers for the further focus on Citizen Science.

    Link to the project:[id]=1247

  3. NBI goes Citizen Science - Involving young and old citizen scientists in monitoring habitat use of the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita)
    Do Northern bald ibises select their foraging grounds according to habitat quality or rather because of traditions? Interested lay people are invited to participate in this project and collect data via an App on the whereabouts of our individually marked ibis colony.

    App: WaldrApp (Android, Apple)
    Link to the project:


The apps are already online and downloadable from Google Play Store (Android) or from iTunes Store (Apple). You can also enter the collected data on the following website:

You are welcome to join the projects and help with data collection. All data collected from lay people will be used, analysed and published in peer-reviewed journals. More information on the projects and apps will soon be provided on our homepage.

 Northern Bald Ibis exhibition

In October 2017, our Northern bald ibis exhibition started at the centre of the national park Kalkalpen in Molln (first floor, in front of the library), which will run for one year. Information on the critically endangered bird, our projects and findings are provided. You are welcome to visit it.

 !!! Northern Bald Ibis wanted !!!

Part of the free-flying colony of the Konrad Lorenz Research Station in Grünau im Almtal (Austria) started to explore the world. We already received sightings from Lower Austria, Carinthia, Czech Republic, Poland,

Have you also sighted some of our juvenile Northern bald ibises (they still have grey feathers on their heads)? If YES, the following information would be important for us:




  • Where are the Northern bald ibises?
  • How many are there?
  • Are you able to identify the coloured leg rings using a binocular?

If you have sightings, please contact us:
Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle
Fischerau 11
A-4645 Gr
ünau im Almtal
Tel.: +43 7616 8510

Thank you very much in advance for your support!

 Biologicum Almtal

From the 5th to the 8th October 2017 the fourth Biologicum Almtal took place in Grünau im Almtal. Kurt Kotrschal, Redouan Bshary, Karin Luger, Friedrich Schneider, Jorg Massen, Monika Betzler and Martin Kocher talked about the principle of cooperation from biological, economical and philosophical perspectives. We had an amazing few days with inspiring discussions.

 French film team

A French film team visited the Konrad Lorenz Research Station from the 29th to the 30th September 2017. They are making a documentary on the research from our colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön (Germany)  about the migration routes of blackcaps (equipped with geo-locators). In addition, Josef Hemetsberger was interviewed on the non-migratory behaviour of our greylag geese flock.

 New colleagues/students

We welcome our new colleagues & students!

Georgine Szipl (University of Vienna) is our new Post-doc within the project GRASS Greylag geese as a model for animal social systems.

Christiane Steinbacher (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences) started her master project working on the social integration of juvenile ravens into a non-breeding group.

Katrin Herzhauser (University of Colonge) will complete her bachelor thesis on development of social behaviour in juvenile ravens: testing effects on object play and food access.

Michaela Syrová and Jana Nácarová (University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic) are joining us again to investigate the reactions of ravens to heterospecific alarm calls.

Katharina Buchegger started her voluntary environmental year and will join us for 9 months. 

Tanja Czerny (University of Vienna) joins us for 3 months as a scientific project assistant within the project NBI goes Citizen Science Involving young and old citizen scientists in monitoring habitat use of the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita)".