By Joan Larsen
You do know how babies arrive, don’t you? I looked at my mother with those innocent eyes as she told me about the stork flying over our rooftop with that little wrapped bundle swinging from its beak, delicately placing it on the chimney top for us to find. I seem to remember her calling the new arrival “a gift from heaven”. To all of us who have had children in the normal way, I find my mother’s tale particularly charming, don’t you? Such a delightful alternative to the real process somehow . . .
The stork, that great looking long-legged bird, may not be hanging around our chimneys anymore here in America, but they are making headlines elsewhere. . . and it is being caught on film for us to see!
This time it is the storks themselves who are providing the “baby boom” that we haven’t heard about in years. In the Amur River region in Russia, major flooding has had the Amur – the 10th longest river in the whole world – overflowing, spilling water into the valleys, filling the lakes with fresh water, and the river byways are having banner years.
The stork population has been losing ground for the past 30 years – as have other birds who need the water to live. But a miracle has happened on the Amur.The storks are again back and nesting in large numbers.
And so, a drone just purchased by the Russian Wildlife Fund has detected a definite baby boom – of storks! For the first time ever, that drone has offered the possibility of actually peering into nests of storks that are often on the highest of high power lines for safety.
You may think that the drone may scare the birds. But much thought has gone into this by the scientists. The photos are of great quality but taken from 200-300 meters above the nest, not scaring the storks as people would. It is well noted that storks – not mated for life, seem to be pledging fidelity somehow. The same pairs are seen year after year returning to the same spots – nesting high in the air for the safety. But, just as humans prefer privacy for their private moments, they have chosen to carefully make beautiful nests high up, spending months caring for their brood as a human family would.
Do enjoy a first look at the storks in what is hopefully only one of the first years of their baby boom on the gorgeous Amur River:
A parting treat. In looking at work being done in nature with drone photography, I found a beautiful short drone film, taken this year, that I found a stunning end and an even larger look at nature. We must never forget – with our world in turmoil – that the wonders of our world remain many. Each is a reminder of the blessings in our natural world that still can make our hearts soar.
Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth. But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again. She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”