About storks ...

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    • About storks ...

      The story about "Dennis" who also got the chance to live:

      The life of the little stork, ELSA ring no. A3268 starts in the year 2003 in the nest of Dannberg. Dennis is one of 6 chicks in the nest. His life until 2004 is written in a letter from our storkfather Michael Zimmermann to a school class in Gummersbach (NWR) worldofanimals.de/html/world_o…_-_brief_an_di.html#Brief
      Here are parts of it:

      Let´s go back to Whitsunday 2003. I promised my wife to make a bicycle tour together. So we started in the morning at 4 a.m., there no traffic is on the road, because to watch the sun rise from the bicycle we like very much. We drove in the direction to Dannberg, a small village about 15 km west of Erlangen. I wanted to see how the breeding is going on. A few weeks before I already had been there and found out, that 6 chicks were in the nest. Around 5 o´clock we arrived and after the spotting scope was installed on the tripod we could start to observe. Counting the chicks is not so easy, because they are lying deep in the nest. Mostly you don´t see anything. In a distance of about 100 m you can see shortly a head coming up, training to clutter and disappearing after a few seconds again. So it is at least with about 4 weeks old storklets. You only can count the number of heads you can see in one time. After one hour I counted 5. A few times 5 heads were to be seen at once. They were in good spirits and I had a good impression.

      But where was No. 6? I looked and looked. Both stork parents were out looking for food. Suddenly there came life in the nest,- the mother was coming. Immediately she fed her chicks and looked at them. Also from down there you could see, that her mood was changing: instead of caring she suddenly hit hard with her beak on always the same point. At least a dozen times until she showed herself whom she had beaten: she took one of her chicks at the head and tried to pull it to the edge of the nest obviously with the intention to throw it out of the nest. Definitely it was chick No. 6, which was mistreated because contrary to his 5 siblings his face looked anxious, rather desperate. My heart sank. I rushed to the concrete mast on which the nest was situated, took a wood which was lying around and beat on the mast. What else should I have done? At least the stork mother stopped her torture and looked down, wondering why I made such a noise. I stopped until she went back to the chick, than I made even more noise to bring her to the edge of the nest. How often this was going on I cannot say. The breaks I used to call for a telephone book and mobile to call the fire brigade to get their ladder to go up. 15 minutes later the car came and I went up. Picked No. 6, easy to recognize because of the bloody face and the slightly deformed beak which clearly showed signs of mothers beating. As we came down I offered him some pieces of meat which I quickly could get from somebody. He refused, so I forced him to eat. By that I saw that his throat was not read but strange grey coloured.

      A stork friend who passed by took the ill animal and brought it in her car to the Zoo in Nürnberg with my reference that they please should make a throat swab, which they did. Diagnosis: worms in the trachea. Deworming was without any problems, what worried me was the injury of the beak. But the so much engaged vets in the Zoo were able to repair it back to normal, which was most important, because the stork uses his beak like a pincette. During a visit I brought the ELSA Ring
      with the number A3268.

      Only a few words to the behaviour of the mother whom we concerning human standards would accuse of infanticide. Storks see that in a different way: they expect from their children in the first weeks of their lifes that they all the time bag for their sympathy throwing their beaks on the back making yelling sounds and clattering like they want to say:” Parents, look, I am your child, I am healthy and have excellent genes, please keep me warm and feed me!”

      If a chick, out of what reason so ever, doesn´t beg for sympathy and is behaving rather apathetic, than the parents fear, that it might infect the siblings and so they solve the problem in their way: if its still very small, they just swallow it, if he is bigger than either beat it to death or throw it out of the nest.

      What was next in the life of A3268? End of August he was healed and released from the zoo just in time to go on migration. But fate hit him again: As he wanted to land on the roof of a church he slipped and was caught with his legs upside down in a grid for snow catching. The fire brigade came, rescued him and brought the injured stork back to the zoo. But after he was healed again he was seen around lakes in Nürnberg and than in December he came to the about 20 km distant Erlangen to the winter feeding place, where the little sender stork lady from Sweden already had arrived (together with 3 other Swedish storks)

      “Dennis” and his little Swedish sender stork friend (also born 2003) stayed in Winter 2003/2004 in Erlangen and around and had a good chance to survive, because of the winter feeding our storkfather makes. Both were all the time together on tour.

      Than in May 2004 both suddenly disappeared and were not seen any more in the area. Like we learned they moved together to the Strait of Gibraltar where their ring numbers were read, so they could be clearly identified.
      The story is continued in 2006. In the year 2006 Dennis was seen back in the meadow ground of Erlangen, what a big beautiful stork he had become! It was a very exciting moment to see him again! No further information from the little Swedish sender stork,- unfortunately….

      “Dennis” May 2006

      And on September 19 2007 suddenly here he was, in the Steinbachbräu - most likely on his way to the south:

      May 5 2005 - if those are not good news: our storkfather got mail from the ornithological station in Radolfzell with the report of a ring finding. On the 28th of February 2009 in Mannheim a stork was sitting on a light tower in the stadion and someone read his ring: A3268…. Dennis. Did he just come back from his winter migration and was on the way to his nest? And where is this nest. Maybe one day someone will read his ring there!?

      This story is such a good proof, what with a little effort and opened eyes can be done to give an animal a chance to survive.
      Viele Grüße von

      „Man sieht nur mit dem Herzen gut. Das Wesentliche ist für die Augen unsichtbar.“

      Antoine de Saint-Exupéry