White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)

 

A White Stork Near a Farm in Rural Serbia

We were driving back to Belgrade after visiting a winery on Thursday and I spotted a huge white bird in a pond next to a farmer’s homestead. We didn’t get a great photo of it, but it turned out to be a White Stork (Bela Roda in Serbian).

In researching the bird, I didn’t know how close they are to the cultures of Eastern Europe. The stork is said to bring good luck and they do well close to human habitation. The stork above was wading in a pond about 100 meters from a field where a woman was tilling the soil near the village of Topola in the Šumadija region of central Serbia. It is known as the harbinger of spring in the Ukraine and it is on the crest of the city of The Hague, Netherlands. Of course, it is also associated with babies. 

I immediately noticed the size of the bird. It is huge! White Storks winter in Africa and breed in northern climates. They avoid flying over the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and there are two flyways on the Rock of Gibraltar in the west and the Bosphorus Straits (Turkey) in the east. The Serbian population takes the eastern route. It is supposed to be a spectacular sight to see and I hope someday to witness it. 

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