Oriental white storks spend winter in eastern Chinese city

In Gaoyou County, Jiangsu Province in east China, there are groups of oriental white storks living on the top of power transmission towers to spend winter.

The oriental white stork, known as the giant panda among birds, is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is under first-class national protection in China. It forages in marshes, wetlands and ponds, mainly feeding on small fish, shrimp and frogs. The oriental white stork is quiet, but alert in nature. When resting, it stands on one foot. It likes to build nests high up in trees and buildings.

Gaoyou County, located in the Yangtze River Delta, is rich in aquatic resources, attracting the oriental white storks to stay during their journey. During these years, adequate food supplies and a strong sense of conservation among local people have enabled the number of oriental white storks to grow from several to more than 30 on this land, from migratory birds to resident birds.

Oriental white storks are social animals. They tend to fly in groups from north to south to avoid cold weather. They even help each other build nests on the tower, but when the work is done, they will return to their family life. In China, mandarin ducks have a great cultural significance for their monogamy; the pattern of a couple of mandarin ducks always conveys love and marriage. Oriental white storks are also found out as monogamous species, which represents a cooperative partnership that gives an advantage for survival. If one of the couple died, the other will soon die of a broken heart.

This year, the local concerned parties in Gaoyou have already built 6 artificial nests for the oriental white storks. These cute vigilant birds are still watching if the nests are safe for living.

(All photos are provided by Hang Dequan from Yangzhou Lvyang Bird Photography Art Center.)

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