Arriving in Their Thousands
From late February to early March The Harbingers of Spring arrive in their thousands to breed and nest high above the ground on poles, treetops, ancient columns and most famously on the Domes of a Mosque.
We are of course talking about the charismatic White Stork.
A Summer Home
Village and Nature Reserve alike see an influx of these majestic black and white birds with estimates of up to 35,000 pairs making Türkiye their Summer destination.
Returning to the same spot every year their stick built nests can weigh in excess of 50 kg. The throwing back of heads and bill clacking late into the night re-establishes the pairing bond and usually a total of four, chalky white eggs, are laid.
Ismail Satici – a six decade relationship starting each spring
In North eastern Turkiye, for over 60 years, a sheep farmer has welcomed the return of storks in spring to a nest he built especially for them as a young man..
As a teenager Ismail Satici, began caring for the storks that nested on the roof of his house in the town of Vize in Kirklareli.
So many birds came to his rooftop that he struggled to make repairs and instead decided to build a special nest for the storks and placed it atop a 6-meter (20-foot) tree in his yard.
“When the storks arrive in spring, I’m as giddy as a child. I see them as my children,” he said.
“When the storks come, I’m overjoyed. I never feel sad when they leave,” he explained, adding that “they leave when the time comes.”
When they arrive, they make a “ticking sound with their beak to alert him that they are on their way. Then they start cleaning the nest right away”, he added.
With a constant supply of insects, earthworms, snakes and fish the young develop rapidly and by spring and mid-summer they take a chance, high above the minarets, to practice their flying skills soaring in the thermals.
A Winter Home
August sees the family set off on a month-long journey to Sub-Saharan Africa where they will spend the winter preparing for their Spring migration back to Turkiye and the nest they left the year before.
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