Saturday, February 14, 2009

White Storks in Southwest Spain

My friend, Ashley, sent me this photo of several White Storks nesting on a rooftop in southwest Spain. He said storks are considered quite lucky and were nesting all over, on church towers, on top of buildings, on telegraph poles, and in tall trees. Stork nests may be used for many years and can grow quite large. Some have been reported over 6 ft wide and about 10 ft deep. What a spectacular site!

I did a bit of research because I knew nothing at all about White Storks. We don’t get them here. I learned storks have found a safe place in Spain where some birds have chosen to remain all year instead of migrating to Africa. These new living arrangements may help boost their numbers because they avoid making the exhausting and even dangerous journey back to Africa.

Across Europe, other birds are still migrating and most spend the winter in Africa south of the Sahara Desert. There are two migration routes at either end of the Mediterranean, the Straits of Gibraltar (these birds winter in West Africa) and Bosporus (these birds winter in southern Africa).

We all know the story of how storks deliver babies, but where did that myth come from? One guess is because storks arrive back in Europe on predictable dates and almost exactly 9 months after the previous mid-summer. Because of this happy myth, storks are considered lucky and are usually well protected.

Maybe some of our European bird bloggers have had experience with these storks and can fill us in on their habits!


Kallen305 said...

I have never seen one in person but they are pretty birds. I can't believe they were just hanging out on the roof on that photo. Very cute!

Warren Baker said...

Hi Kelly,
White Storks are rare here in England, only turning up when one overshoots on it's migration.

Warren Baker said...

ooops! Forgot to say thanks for visiting my site, glad you enjoyed the pics. I'll join your large list of followers!

Kelly said...

Kallen...I guess we'll just have to head to Spain to see one!
Warren...Thanks!! we know they aren't that common in England. Such a universal symbol, yet I know almost nothing about them.