The cycle route "Steine und Mehr" leads through the European bird sanctuary, which has been designated since 2004.
The bird sanctuary covers large parts of the Hellwegbörde from Unna in the west to Salzkotten in the east. The area, which covers almost 500 square kilometers, is home to a large number of typical but now rare bird species of the open landscape.
You will find internationally important breeding populations of the Montagu's harrier, the marsh harrier and the corncrake. The Hellwegbörde is of special importance for the Mornell's and the Golden Plover as well as for the Red and the Black Kite and other endangered species.
The Montagu's Harrier is a medium-sized bird of prey with a body length of 38-44 cm and a wingspan of 102-116 cm. There are only about 450 breeding pairs left in Germany.
The biggest problems of the Montagu's Harrier are the changes in the landscape. They have their nests in winter cereal fields and in alfalfa. Foraging is becoming increasingly difficult due to intensive agriculture and the largely disappearing fallow land. Fox and wild boar, as natural enemies, are a threat to the survival of young harriers.