Stork – Bird of Happiness
Storks are large wading birds with long legs, necks, and bills. There are 17 species of stork. The most famous type is the white stork. In some European countries it is said to bring good luck. Storks are related to herons, ibises, flamingos, and vultures. Storks live in Africa, Asia, Europe, Americas and Australia.
Storks usually stand about 0.6 to 1.5 meters tall. The largest stork is the marabou, which feed on carrion. Most storks eat insects, frogs, fish, and other small animals.
The stork is a migratory bird, traveling very long distances to relocate seasonally. Storks are monogamous and almost always stay in pairs.
They nest in high places, and often return to the same nesting site year after year. The nests are made from branches and straw and are about 2 meters in diameter. The female usually lays about four or five eggs. Then the male and the female take turns incubating. When the chicks are born, both parents feed them. Weak and sickly nestlings are ruthlessly thrown out of the nest.
The Oriental white stork is also known as the Japanese white stork and the Far Eastern white stork. Its body length is of 110 to 115 centimeters and a wingspan of about 118 centimeters. It has a distinctive black bill and long white wings with black tips. The Oriental white stork’s diet is made up of insects, fish, frogs, snails, small reptiles, and small mammals, such as rodents. In captivity an Oriental white stork lives about 48 years.
In almost all countries people try to attract this bird to their dwelling, since it is widely believed that a stork brings children to the house, and with them happiness and wealth. For Muslim peoples, for example, a white stork is allowed to nest not only on residential buildings, but even on palaces and mosques.
In Ancient Greece the first stork, flown from distant lands, was greeted by falling down prostrate.
In Germany, the arrival of storks was notified by heralds or city guards, in their honor they ringed all bells, arranged holidays.