During our walk last Sunday (see previous post for pictures), my sister and I came across a bird we were not able to identify instantly. It was about the size of a magpie:
The next day, Monday, I was working from home and spent my lunchbreak at my parents'. I told my Mum about the unknown bird, and she let me have a look for it in one of her reference books. After a few moments, it was obvious that what we had seen was a Wacholderdrossel (fieldfare; Turdus pilaris). A good example of how books are still very helpful in those instances where I wouldn't have known what to look for on the internet!
Still on that Sunday walk, we witnessed a love drama of the avian kind:
There is a large, walk-through aviary in the palace grounds. Among many other species of birds (such as ibis - once a sacred bird in Ancient Egypt -, flamingo and various exotic ducks), a small group of white storks (Ciconia ciconia) live there.
For centuries, white storks were common in Germany, especially in rural areas. But along with the draining of wetlands, renovating old farm houses and generally destroying of natural habitat, they have become more and more rare, especially in our heavily industrialized part of the country.
Imagine our surprise when we suddenly saw a large bird fly above us - and it was definitely not a heron (we get to see those relatively often). My sister said it was a stork, and she was right. I was of course way too slow with the camera, but we hoped he'd be back.
And sure enough, as we kept walking, we saw him again. This time, we managed to follow where he was going, and spotted him high up on the roof of the aviary, where he had built a nest.
...he was on his own, and started the typical behaviour of a stork calling his or her partner to the nest. Only that his partner was unable to follow the alluring call of this attractive male, who had so nicely set up a nest for their future family: Miss Stork, the object of his love, lives inside the aviary. She can't get out and he can't get in.
I felt (and still do feel) so sorry for this unhappy couple, destined to never be together, always separated by the mesh of the aviary!
When I told RJ on the phone later that evening, he suggested I send the palace grounds administration an email. Maybe they could get the wild stork in somehow, or they could let Miss Stork out - she wouldn't go far, with the nest being right there on top of the aviary.
But I guess the people who take care of the birds know of the drama already, and maybe they have been thinking about what can be done to solve the problem. Then again - maybe they won't do anything about it, hoping the stork in love will eventually give up and find another nice lady stork, one who is free to follow him to whereever he chooses to build his next home.
From what I have read about storks, I know they are monogamously, but not necessarily with the same partner for life. They do try, though, to stick to the same nesting place for many years. So, who knows how and if this drama will be solved.