Fish population

The following species of fish can be found here: pike, tench, chub, carp, catfish, eel, perch, sunfish, black bass, bleak and dace. The bass were imported and introduced 30 years ago and the catfish 10 years ago, the rest can be considered autochtonic. In corrispondence with the two introductions mentioned, fishermen have noticed a tangible modification among the fish population. These are in fact two very voracious predatory species, especially the latter, that since the time of the investigation (1983) until now (1989) has practically taken over the population and represent the majority while all the other species have decreased in number; the catfish have eaten their eggs and fries and are showing signs of senescence. The counter this type of phenomenon and balance the species it is necessary to inhibit the multiplication of the catfish by removing the pregnant females and fries. As this phenomenon demonstrates, the removal of fish is not ecologically incorrect, in fact it appears to be useful in order to avoid an imbalance and senescence amongst the species. Thus the Statute of the Reserve does not exclude the possibility that this should happen through sport-fishing (that is now allowed in some of the basins); obviously subject to regulations on the basis of methodical and continuous control of the structure of the fish population.


The eyes of the old fishermen still shine when they talk about pike fishing in the Torbiere fifty years ago. In fact pike, that in those days was well established in that area, was not only one of the few “Sunday meals” that the poor people could afford but, due to its predatory nature and wild vitality, was also a prey that proved the skill and pluck of the fisherman that was lucky enough to catch one. The old fisherman remember specimen more than a metre long, they remember how often the stomachs of the pikes contained frogs or mice or ducklings, they remember how these fish remained alive, wriggling and ready to use their strong teeth against imprudent fingers even after hours out of the water. However the pike of the Tubbier came to a sad end. Since a pump has been installed to take water from the Lame and into the lake and then into the river Oglio many eggs have been destroyed, because most water is taken in the pike’s egg laying period, so the eggs are left dry. The presence of this species has been further damaged by the progressive deterioration of the water combined with the imput of two new predatory species, the trout-perch and the cat-fish: the pike needs very clean water and is weakened even by a minimum rate of pollution, so it was not able to sustain the aggression and the competition of the other two species, that are less sensitive to pollution. So nowadays pike has decreased very much in the Torbiera, but has regressed everywhere, another victim of the deterioration of water environment.

Bird population

Seventeen species of birds nest in the area of the bog, 8 sedentary and 9 summer visitors (that is, they are present during the breeding season from April to September). The bog is also used by winter visiting species or by others who rest for brief periods during their winter and spring migrations. In other parts of the Reserve about 20 species nest which do not necessarily need an acquatic environment. The species of the first group (bog nesters) are: little dipper, little bittern, water rail, great reed warbler, serin (the major concentrations of these species in the province of Brescia can be found in the Reserve), Savi’s warbler (the most numerous species) penduline (that in the Province of Brescia only nests in this area), titmouse, moorhen, cuckoo, mallard and Cetti’s warbler. The second group (bog migrators) includes some species of the first group (birds of the same species that nest elsewhere) plus different species. The number of birds and the length of their stay is variable. Up to 1.000 moorhens are present during winter. The species that one sees most often are: grebes, some types of herons and anatidae. This third group (non bog nester) includes the blackbird, blackcaps, finches, sparrows and other common species. At the time of investigation (1982-1983) the number of nesters in the bog area was 233/300 pairs which ornithologists thought would increase thanks to the institution of the Reserve. It is more difficult to count the nesting species in the other areas of the Reserve. Apart from the above-mentioned ones, other species such as the brown kite (bird of prey) when it is hunting and more often the common seagull in search of food, regularly visit the bog, although they do not nest. The importance of the Torbiere has been confirmed by a Ministerial Decree that has declared it a “damp area of international importance in accordance with Ramsar Convention”. G.U. no. 194 dated 11/06/1984.


Certainly one of the hopes of those that wanted this reserve was to see more often this very elegant bird, very few specimen of which, at present, can be seen for short periods during migration. This hope is not groundless , because it seems sure that in the 60s a couple of pairs nested in the Torbiere, so if the environmental situation improves a more substantial presence of this birds than at present and in the past can be expected. The reasons , for this hope, for this wish, even though difficult to determine , must be very solid, expecially as this species has fashinated man for centuries and these birds are almost represented in Egyptian hieroglyphs, on ancient Greek vase and in Chinese paintings. This species is in fact present in Europe, Asia, Africa(of course in marshy areas with reds and rocks) and perhaps it has been and is seen as a model of refined and unexcelled beauty. This heron is also interesting from a strictly scientific point of view, especially for its nuptial behaviour that is characterised by an engagement period, by “emotions” that cause the male’s beak and claws to blush, by a conquest ritual that consists in a threatening flapping of wings that slowly gets weaker and more gentle. The Ardea Cinerea is a sensitive barometer of environmental changes, eve in the sense that possible polluting substances immediately stain its feathers and eggs: so as to enjoy observing in all its splendour this masterpiece of nature we must thus consistently respect the entire environment.