When the White Storks return to South Africa
White Storks arrive in South Africa from Europe in December or January and are with us for just a few weeks, often in large flocks numbering hundreds, here at Amohela ho Spitskop Conservancy they are usually accompanied by Abdims Storks too.
The tell-tale spirals in the sky announce the return of the magnificent White Storks as they gracefully descend to earth, their long journey is at an end and they have left the cold winter weather of Europe for the hot sun of South Africa. They know exactly where to come and when to come, their timing is amazing, just as the farmers begin ploughing/ planting, these huge birds land and follow the plough, feeding off the insects that surface, unconcerned about the tractors working nearby, they just move aside .
Here at Amohela-ho-Spitskop Conservancy we sometimes need to burn off old grassland areas and then the Storks appear in their hundreds to feast off the insects and reptiles that have been injured or disturbed. They walk through the smoke and flames with no fear or concern, and occasionally fly to our dam to cool off, but they soon return to the feast.
Sadly we once had a fatal power line collision of a single Stork, after much effort we managed to get bird deflectors fitted to all our powerlines as well as those of our neighbour. Fitted 5 metres apart these reflective devices warn flying birds of the danger, we also converted all our dangerous Tee pylons to a bird friendly configuration.
This is a long stretch across the lands of a neighbour, on the flight path of the storks, and since the work on Amohela and the poles of neighbour farms, we have not had another collision or electrocution of any large birds. Our sincere thanks to EWT and special projects team at ESKOM. A wonderful effort by all. Now the Storks are SAFE here.
They are much loved these graceful giants of the skies , always welcome and admired for they have travelled such a very long way to reach us .
We salute you Ciconia ciconia long may you thrive.