Stork: A Very Motherly Bird

Legend has it that she brings children to their parents. It is a monogamous bird and “marries” for life. The eggs are hatched by the mother and father, and the chicks are fed by both.
Stork: a very maternal bird

We say that someone is “waiting for the stork” when they are expecting a baby. In some countries, it is also believed that the child, a boy or a girl, will be brought by this great bird directly from Paris.

However, we don’t know much about this species of bird, which lives in Africa, Europe and Asia… nor where the legend of taking children from here to there came from. In this article we will tell you all about the storks.

Stork Characteristics

Although it is called a white stork, the fact is that this bird also has black feathers on its lower body.

In addition, the   long beak and orange legs stand out, as do the black eyes.

It’s big – it measures about 1.25 meters – and, thanks to its wide wings, it can soar.

It flaps its wings slowly and, when it flies, it stretches its neck forward and its legs backwards. 

To sleep, she “hide” her head among the feathers and, as she walks, walks slowly, looking down.

As for its diet, being carnivorous, it eats a wide variety of small animals: fish, reptiles, insects, birds or mammals.

To get the food, it picks it up directly with its beak at ground level, especially in areas of low vegetation or shallow water mirrors.

The stork is monogamous and, once the couple is formed, the partnership is maintained for life. 

Both are responsible for building a large nest, which can be used for several seasons.

Females lay about four eggs, which are incubated by the parents in shifts and hatch after a month.

At birth, puppies are fed by their parents for two months.

stork with chicks

Stork distribution and migration

A quarter of the world’s stork population lives in Poland, however, this migratory bird travels long distances each year depending on the season.

To spend the winter and not suffer the typical cold of Eastern Europe, travels to India, the Arabian peninsula  and sub-Saharan Africa.

A very curious fact about his flight is that, in order to reach African lands, he “avoids” crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Then it detours through the Straits of Gibraltar or the Mediterranean Levant. In this way, you can make better use of the air currents that form near the water.

When spring starts, they return to Europe after a trip that lasts approximately 49 days.

The ‘going’ lasts almost half the time (26 days) and that’s because of the direction and speed of the winds, the amount of food they find, the energy they have, etc.

flying stork

The Stork in Popular Culture

This bird is part of many ancient legends and traditions. Because of their behavior, their flight, their stay near human settlements, their size or their food. In ancient Egypt ,  the hieroglyph that symbolizes her means “soul” and the Hebrews consider her a merciful being.

The Greeks and Romans relate this bird to paternity and a legend says that they do not die; they just fly to distant islands and become people.

She is also the protagonist of several fables – such as the fox and the stork – and is venerated by Muslims during their pilgrimage to Mecca.

But, of course, storks are known worldwide for “bringing” babies to their new parents.

This legend dates back to the 19th century, thanks to a story written by Hans Andersen.

However, the story is older: the Germans said that these birds had found babies in a cave. The storks then caught them in their beaks and took them to their homes.

When a couple wanted to have children, they would put candy on the windowsill to “warn” the stork that she could come and bring them a baby. 

This tradition has spread around the world and is now known internationally.

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