Friday, August 19, 2011

Stork Flight

For the last few weeks we've been doing various tedious projects and trips that I really need to write up. Yesterday, though, we actually saw something different. In former years we were not here in late August, so when we left there were still stork chicks in the nest, and by the time I'd come back to check on things in late September or October, all the storks would be gone. Last year, when one of the adult storks died, I don't think there actually was a chick.

Things have been tense between the stork chicks and their parents for some days. As it's gotten colder, the parents seemed to be preparing to move on to warmer climates. The chicks wanted to stay in the nest and be fed, the parents wanted them to fly and find their own food so that they can head out. The parents spent a lot of time standing still in the meadow or on nearby pole listening to the chicks make the "I want food" squealing noise. Occasionally they seemed to relent and feed their children enough to save them from actual starvation, but mostly they kind of pretended not to hear. The chicks for their part spent more time standing up on the edge of the nest looking for their parents, ever more stork-like.

Yesterday morning we went out to look around and noticed the chicks were missing from the nest. Then we saw them standing a little awkwardly on one of the apartment houses in the village, as if aware that this was not a cool place to hang out.
They don't seem to quite have the wind thing down.
But they took a little flight around the neighboring fields and got back to the nest without too much trouble. A little awkward on landing.
And on getting out of each other's way.
They practiced flying off and on for most of the day while Jüri cut some more trees and we hauled brush and firewood and burned more brush. We're leaving in a couple weeks and it will be interesting to see who vacates the farm first, us or the storks.

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