White stork (Ciconia ciconia) is a large, slender bird. Usually it reaches a height of one meter and a weight between 2.3 - 4.5 kg. Wingspan is ca. 2 meters. This species breeds in the warm part of Europe and winters in Africa. On their way to Africa hundreds of birds can be seen passing through the straits of Gibraltar and Bosporus. High in the blue sky whenever the sun shines bright and the air is warm enough, this wide winged soaring bird is easily recognized by the long lining forward neck as well as long red beak and legs.
Since it is considered a lucky bird, the white stork is undisturbed and is found to nest near human settlements. Noisy clatter produced by the beaks when adult birds meet at the nest, causes a smile. As if realizing the special attitude towards it, the white stork walks slowly and flashy, looking for amphibians and reptiles, worms, grasshoppers and small rodents, which it feed on. Wetlands, meadows, rice fields and agricultural areas are preferred spots to catch food.
The White Stork is a monogamous bird which means that the bird breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The males arrive first at the nests - in February or March. When the female returns they repair the old nest together. In some places over the years the nests can grow to 2 m in diameter.
The female lays two to five white eggs which both parents incubate for a month. When they hatch, the chicks are covered with short white feathers that change already on the eighth day. The parents bring them food and leave it at the end of the slot. In their beaks the little chicks receive only water. Two months after hatching they start to test their small wings in the first flight, accompanied by the attentive parents who teach them to hunt and to protect themselves from dangers. At the height of summer, the young curious storks can often be seen in the nest, standing in the shadow of their parents who keep them from the scorching sunlight.
Soon after the first flight, the small storks that actually already completely resemble their parents, feel completely confident and leave the nest forever. After another month they join the flock.