What a lovely word; say it loud, say it proud.......STORK.
This is of course the Oriental Stork, Ciconia boyciana, listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Here a picture taken in Mai Po, early one morning on the 23rd December 2020.
Besides this stork many other species are suffering regional declines in the face of ever-increasing pressure for land for agriculture and building development. Their big size (they really are huge), their serial monogamy, and faithfulness to an established nesting site contribute to their prominence in the world's mythology and culture.
So how did the legend start about storks bringing babies? Well, legend has it that the explanation lies in the fact that European white storks often nest on the roof and chimney of houses in the spring, a time when many babies are born. So in Victorian England (when women still hid their ankles) when a child asked, “Where did I come from?”, the parents simply said “The stork brought you.” OOOOOk, well I bought it. How about you?
Say it again...STORK.......
In Ancient Egypt, it was associated with, and was the hieroglyph for, the Ba, or “soul“.
The Hebrew word for the white stork is chasidah (חסידה), meaning “merciful” or “kind“.
Greek and Roman mythology portray storks as models of parental devotion, and it was believed that they did not die of old age, but flew to islands and took the appearance of humans.
Ottomar Anschütz’s famous 1884 album of photographs of storks inspired the design of Otto Lilienthal’s experimental gliders of the late nineteenth century.