Monday, June 18, 2007

Sad News in Stork Land

Looking For Family 8.5" x 11" pencil

There was sad news in one of the stork nests, in Ustron, when the last baby died. Two babies seemed as if they were going to survive out of the four eggs in the nest. One baby died as it was being hatched. The last egg had not hatched, when the babies showed signs of being ill. One baby died, and was removed. The autopsty revealed fungi as the cause of death, so the nest was disinfected, and the last baby removed for treatment . It looked like it had a chance to survive, when it, too became ill, and died. This one died of ringworms in the trachea.

The parent storks had left the nest and everyone was watching to see if they would return. The father returned and looked around the nest, as in my drawing above, seeming to look for his family. He sat on the nest, as he had done to protect the eggs. He also stood on one leg a while, as he often did overnight while the mother stork sat on the eggs.

It became very windy, as I watched, and Papa Stork had to really brace himself against the wind. At one point, he seemed to jump up in the air, flap his wings, and fuss at the wind that was blowing him about.

The next day, Mama Stork returned to the nest.

It was so sad to watch pictures of that empty nest. Poor little things.

It has been very interesting to watch the storks on various webcams, and to read discussions with genealogy groups who have been sharing the links to the stork webcams. This was something I would never have been able to see without the webcams.

The storks remind me a bit of the Whooping Cranes that winter on the Texas Gulf Coast. In reality, they may be quite different. I haven't studied birds that much.

Back in the 1960s, I went to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, but I don't remember actually seeing any Whooping Cranes. We did see wild turkeys and large bushes with sage. I think I may have seen some flying over Central Texas one time, as a flock of large white birds flew over and circled the school where I was teaching. I was in the parking lot at the time. They were making the strangest noises. I guessed they were Whooping Cranes, or Canadian Geese going back north as the weather was warmer. I stayed in the parking lot as they circled. For some reason, they reminded me of Indian designs. I thought of them along with turquoise and silver and incised designs.

On a happier note, the drawing below is of a different nest, this one in Germany. These babies are thriving and growing. They were so cute. They look like they have on fluffy little bloomers! As I watched them and sketched, it seemed to be raining. I couldn't see any rain, but the wind was blowing the trees behind them. This mother stork pulled her neck in and provided protection for the babies. After a while, the wind let up, and she stretched and the babies spread out a bit, until it started again.

There seem to be several stork projects in Poland and Germany where there are webcams. Another group in Germany has a webcam on a nest of Black Storks in a forest. The light and colors, as well as the sounds, are really interesting. I haven't been watching that site as long.

Of course, while it is the wee hours of the morning here in central Texas, while most people are asleep, it is daytime overseas. Fortunately, we can see the storks with the webcams at night, there, although the pictures are in black and white.

I had intended to post something different, but I was thinking of the loss of all the baby storks in that nest, and the parent birds. They have given so much pleasure to so many, I wanted to remember them.

Rainy Day in Germany 8.5" x 11" pencil

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