Storks return to Planckendael a month early

Around a dozen storks have already returned to Planckendael Zoo in Antwerp Province. That the migrating birds have flown north so early in the year is exceptional. Last year the storks that spend the spring and summer at Planckendael and migrate south as autumn sets in, started returning in late February. The zoo that is near to the city of Mechelen, midway between Antwerp and Brussels, believes that this winter’s mild temperatures have made the birds decided to fly north earlier than normal.  

The birds that have returned join another 20 storks that choose not to migrate and remain at Planckendael throughout the winter. The zoo says that storks’ nests are ready to accommodate them. This is thanks to the work of the maintenance team and gardeners that keep the nests ship-share during the birds’ absence.    

"A good cosy nest is important with storks because their first loyalty is to their nest with loyalty to their partner playing second fiddle”, a Planckendael Zoo Spokesman told VRT News.  

The Antwerp Royal Zoological Society that runs Planckendael and Antwerp Zoo is expanding its stork project. The Society manages the De Zegge nature reserve in Geel (Antwerp Province). Planckendael Zoo has had a number of nesting platforms delivered to De Zegge so that the birds will find a comfortable place to nest during the forthcoming mating season. Last year 103 storks were born in nests at Planckendael bringing the population to 235 birds in 66 nests.        

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