About ten members of the colony of storks from the animal park Planckendael near Mechelen have returned from their winter migration – at least a month ahead of their usual schedule, the park said.
The park authorities speculate that the reason for the early arrival is the milder temperatures experienced during the current winter – another effect of climate change, albeit a more welcome one.
Planckendael also has about 20 storks which never migrate. The birds live in nests high above the park, but can often be seen strolling in he car park, doubtless looking for tasty morsels left behind by park visitors.
During their absence, the storks’ nests are maintained by the park’s technical service. “ good, comfortable nest is important, because a stork is faithful to its nest ahead of being faithful to its partner,” the park said in a statement. “For example, you’ll find a veritable stork hotel opposite the rhinoceros in the park.”
Storks in Belgium are not restricted to Planckendael. The park’s services also supply nests to the De Zegge stork colony in Geel in the Kempen area of Antwerp province, which like the park and Antwerp Zoo is a subsidiary of the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp.
“Planckendael is happy to welcome the storks back,” the park said. “We are looking forward to their happy chatter, and hopefully that translates this year into a fine brood of chicks. Watch this space.”