Friday, July 30, 2010

Storks

On Tuesday morning we went to Viljandi. Right after we turned onto the Paia-Viljandi Highway we noticed a dead stork by the side of the road. This is pretty rare. The storks are good at dodging cars and drivers usually make an effort to avoid them.

I wondered if it could be one of our storks, but there are many in the neighborhood, so I didn't give it much thought until late evening when we got back. I went out and looked and there was only one stork on the nest.

After a while it flew over to an electrical pole across the road and looked mournful.


It sat until it got dark.


In the morning there were no storks on the nest, so I'm assuming the dead one was one of the pair who nest right next to our property. The nest was empty all day Wednesday and Thursday, and I was beginning to think the survivor had moved on.


But today I heard storks clacking their bills and could see two pairs flying over head.


When I checked the nest the surviving stork was back, apparently making it clear to other storks that the nest was not vacant. There was much bill clacking and wing curling.


There have been a pair nesting here since we bought the place. I've been able to recognize one of them the last few years by a band on the right leg and a white spot on the wing. I couldn't tell which stork was still alive on Tuesday night, but today I could see the other stork was the one that was still alive. It's un-banded and the markings are less distinct, but it could be the other one we've been seeing since 2006.

I'd noticed there were no chicks this year, so I wonder if the one that died was elderly or ill. Members of the family that we bought the house from have commented that they thought they were the same storks from years ago.

White storks don't mate for life, but they do tend to come back to the same nest every year, and a pair can stay together for many years out of the habit of coming back to the same spot. Hopefully the survivor will nest here again next year and find a new mate. I would hate for Paia to be storkless, I'm sure it would be a bad omen.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Paia Talumaja, Taadikvere Küla

3 comments:

  1. I thought storks did mate for life. Maybe depending on the species?

    I remember seeing storks in north Florida, along I-10. Magnificent birds.

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  2. I always thought so myself, but I've read it's not necessarily the case several places, like : http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Birds/Facts/FactSheets/fact-europwhitestork.cfm. I've also noticed in photos we've taken over five years that at least one of the birds looks a little different from year to year. The single bird we have left looks younger than the similar looking one that was on the nest a few years ago, but maybe it's just healthier. I haven't really read anything about other species to know if they do mate for life.

    They are amazing to watch. They'll swoop in right overhead while we're working in the yard and you realize that they're absolutely huge. They have little fear of people. I've watched one calmly walk along a few feet in front of a tractor or bulldozer as if it knows that the driver won't actually hit it.

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