Storks – what do we know about them?
We know that stork in Poland was always treated with esteem and respect. For years people were used to living next to the storks. Every year they would watch stork “sejmiki” on fields as the sign of coming fall. For years they awaited their return to the nests. Today medias always inform us when the birds are back. Poland is European home to the white stork. Every year there is around 50 thousands of storks coming to Poland out of 160 thousands in the world. Poland has more storks on its own than the rest of European Union countries do together. The storks also have numerous nests on the territories of Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia. Last years have seen a drastic fall in stork population in northern and western Europe – the fault is placed on drying wetlands and marshes, the use of pesticides in agriculture and partially on climate change. Storks are almost gone from northern France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, western and southern Germany, while Sweden and Switzerland didn’t have any at all for some time. The majority of Polish population feed in the regions of Polachia, Warmia and Masuria.
Humor: On nature class the teacher asks:
Johnny, what do you know of storks?
They are very intelligent birds. They leave as soon as the school year starts.
But jokes aside, those birds are very intelligent. The fact is that they build their nests near people, counting that the man will help them in danger.
Standing Stork is around 110 cm tall, with his wings reaching in width up to 2 m. The length of characteristic red beak is around 16-20 cm. An adult bird’s weight varies from 2,7 to 4,5 kg. Stork has generally white feathers with black feathers on wings. Telling the difference between male and female is for an average nature fan very difficult and almost impossible. The storks spend winter in Africa where they leave in January and in early spring come back to their nests for mating. They live around 10-15 years.
Did you know?
Storks fly to Africa in winter avoiding bodies of water on the way. It’s difficult to find elevating currents of air on the sea, and even if they are found they are too small to be useful to storks. Most currents above water are horizontal so storks would have to constantly flap their wings. Having to fly over thousands kilometres they would drop from exhaustion. As their build is not suiting this kind of flying. That’s why they fly over land – it takes longer but it’s safer and not tiring. Our storks on their way to Africa fly over Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. It would be faster to go over Mediterranean Sea an further to Nil.
Stork’s wings are made in a way that they use the currents of elevating air. They are long and compared to other birds, very wide. This is helpful as the greater area of wings , the better the “catch” of currents. Storks travel in air just like gliders, using air currents. Gliding on static, open wings is almost effortless while every flap is a costly use of energy.