I saw my first spring storks today!
The first year we arrived in Hungary I had no idea that storks also inhabited this country…I had never actually seen one before, so was pleasantly surprised to see them. They arrive in Hungary mid April and stay for the duration of the summer before leaving again in September. Storks, I have discovered are incredibly common in central Europe and are highly symbolic to the Hungarians. Storks represent fertility, purity, and the beginning of springtime. Hungarians believe that if a stork nests on their house it will bring good luck and fortune.
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, black and white wading birds with long stout bills. Groups of storks are referred to as musters and the Hungarian name for stork is gólyák. It is a wonderful sight to watch them fly with outstretched wings with a slow but regular rhythm. They return to their regular nesting places, usually chimney pots, lamp-posts or telegraph poles in rural parts of Hungary. Their nests are large and prominent and you can see them preening their nests, replenishing the shell with small sticks and straw in preparation for raising their family. Storks are known for living quite amicably with local people and are a common sight in the villages.
Most people have heard of the myth about storks and delivering babies. I was unaware this was used as a clever way to obscure the realities of sex education and childbirth in Victorian England. This story became especially valuable and useful for Victorians who were too embarrassed to explain the facts of life to their children. The 19th Century made this myth even more popular by the writer Hans Christian Andersen and his fairy tale called “The Storks.” In his story, storks pluck dreaming babies from ponds and lakes and deliver them to deserving families. We have come a long way in developing our sex education today!
I have never taken much interest in birds before but since living in Hungary they have suddenly intrigued me. The huge variety of birds living here are truly captivating. I have started observing their habits and behaviours, listening intently to their birdsong and google searching species I don’t recognise. Perhaps I am becoming a birdwatcher!
Are you interested in birds, do you have storks on your doorstep (or chimney pot)? I would love to know which countries accommodate them.