baby stork 88.
(photo credit: )
A migrating white stork has finally delivered, bouncing back from a failed romance to find new love and father the first two recorded white stork chicks in the Beit She'an Valley.
Tel Aviv University's Dr. Yossi Leshem, director of the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration at Latrun, said the parents and their two chicks were perched on a nest inside a tire placed on top of an electricity pole at Kibbutz Tirat Zvi by local bird lovers four years ago.
Ten days ago, the Center for the Study of Bird Migration (a joint project of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the university) installed a Web camera aimed at the nest that enables the public to view the storks in real time.
According to Leshem, the story began four years ago, when the staff of the small rehabilitation center at the kibbutz found a female stork with a broken wing. A male white stork landed on a nearby electricity pole, started to court her in a display of feathers and dance, and tried to build a nest. Seeing that he was failing, they used a tractor to place a tire on the top of the pole.
The male ceased migrating, built his nest in the tire and remained perched there, but sadly, the female couldn't get up to his nest.
"Had ornithologists lifted her up to the nest, she might have crashed down below, failing to realize her flying limitations," said Leshem.
She was treated at Tirat Zvi for an open fracture, and half of her wing was amputated. Since then, she has been living in a large roofless cage at Kibbutz Lavi.
This year, however, the male succeeded in attracting a different mate, and they are nesting successfully at the kibbutz, which is located 30 kilometers south of Lake Kinneret. Originally, there were three chicks; one died, but the other two are doing well, Leshem said.
Leshem said he didn't know exactly where the three adult storks came from, as they had not been "ringed" - but all migrating storks shuttle between Europe and Africa. Rings have now been put on their legs to identify them.
The whole family can be seen on-line via a Web camera at www.birds.org.il. The Web site has also launched a name-giving contest.