June 19, 2015 05:50 PM

Germany is turning over 60 former military bases into nature preserves, aimed at provided sanctuaries for rare birds.

The country’s environmental minister, Barbara Hendricks, said that over 76,600 acres of forests, marshes, meadows and moors had been set aside after the government decided against selling them to private investors.

“We are seizing a historic opportunity with this conversion – many areas that were once no-go zones are no longer needed for military purposes,” she said, according to AFP. “We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature.”

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The 62 bases (mostly in the former West Germany) will provide habitats for woodpeckers and eagles, as well as certain species of bats. Plus, many of them will be open to the public!

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