Poland salutes the white stork
PR dla Zagranicy
Today is the day of the white stork, the fabled bird so beloved in Polish folklore, and so widely seen as a symbol of the country.
The event was launched in 2003 by Pro Natura, the Polish Society of Friends of Nature. Meetings, performances and exhibitions are taking place across the country, highlighting both the splendour of the species as well as the need to protect the birds.
According to naturalists, about 50,000 pairs of the birds nest in Poland each year, which amounts to a fifth of the world's white stork population. In short, nowhere else in the world are you more liable to meet the long-beaked fellows.
Storks tend to make their distinctive nests – which can reach a diameter of two metres – on tall trees, but they are also accustomed to building them on telegraph poles or chimneys. The old tale about the birds' deft talents at delivering babies is known not only in Poland, but also in the wider world.
Contrary to myth, the birds rarely feast on frogs. In fact, their favoured fodder is insects, primarily beetles and crickets.
Each year, the birds migrate to the southern regions of Africa, and the 8000km expedition is covered at a rate of 200 km per day. (nh)