Stork Nesting

While you see if you can find the difference in this pair of images of a stork on its nest, let’s see if we can also learn something about ornithology. It’s a White Stork, ‘ciconia ciconia’, and around 40% of its total numbers are to be found in the Eastern European new member countries of the EU. Storks like to build their nests really high, perhaps so they can look down on potential predators, like this one is doing. It’s a big bird, standing 80–115cm (45 inches) tall, with a wing span of 195–215cm (85 inches). The White Stork used to be a common bird in Scandinavia and Central Europe, but is now close to extinction in Denmark, Sweden and Hungary. Probably the cause of its decline is loss of habitat: the stork needs open country, especially wetlands like water meadows and flood plains. They feed on frogs, toads, lizards and small snakes, and will sometimes take the eggs of ground nesting birds. Numbers are gradually increasing again in Germany, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain. In some of those countries the stork is welcomed as a symbol of fertility, and positively encouraged to build its nest on platforms provided on the roof.