Friday, June 08, 2012

He built his wife a nest on the ground

The power of true love: a stork goes against instinct and builds a nest directly on the ground, because his partner can no longer fly.

The couple met in the Fedaczynski Rehabilitation Centre in the Carpathian Mountains in Poland. She came in with a broken wing; he with severe poisoning. Although the birds were emaciated and had very little chance of survival, the doctor managed to save them, and through the long months of rehabilitation they slowly fell in love.

"The love of storks is great," says Dr. FedaczyƄski. "Birds are very attached to each other and when they couple, it is for life.”

When it became clear that the female would never fly again, her fully-recovered partner chose to remain with his new wife and spend the winter in Poland, not departing for warmer climates. And then in the Spring he began to build a nest, collecting sticks and laying them directly on the ground, so that his wife would not have to suffer. Mrs Stork sits by patiently and clatters her bill in happiness while their new home grows bigger every day, and in a few weeks it should be home to a couple of chicks.

The unusual pair have become a great attraction in the area. People are watching the behaviour of the birds in disbelief; nobody has ever seen a stork building a nest on the ground like a duck.

And now there are signs that the pair's inventive solution is being adopted by other couples. The clinic is home to other sick birds, including those who had lost the ability to fly years ago. To date not one of them had made attempts at building a nest, but seeing the actions of the devoted couple they too have begun to tackle the construction of nests directly on the ground.