A record number of stork nests have been recorded this year in Amsterdam, with Nieuw- West clocking in as the favourite nesting neighbourhood, reports Het Parool.
There are 19 stork nests in the city this season—a new record. In 2017, there were only 12 nests and 15 chicks, while this year the number of chicks has increased to 27.
Storks are said to be productive breeders, with an average of 2.1 young born per breeding nest in Amsterdam.
Specifically, the storks like to nest on the chimneys of the former Osdorpschool on the Lutkemeerweg, where four families have taken up residence. It began with one couple five years ago, but now their children are brooding on the neighbouring chimneys. Each of the four chimneys has its own nest, with a total of seven chicks between them.
Nature photographer Paul Koene, who helped organise the ringing of the birds between 2012 and 2016, has a theory of why Nieuw-West is so popular. “There are several places nearby where they can forage well, but I think they are also fed chicken breasts and other things in this place,” he told the newspaper. “After all, everyone loves storks.”
Still, he advises stork gawkers not to feed the birds, especially not with bread, which can give the males a type of Crohn’s disease and causes other intestinal problems. They thrive best on their natural diet of worms, insects, frogs and even mice, all readily available in the area.
While the number of storks dwindled in the 1960s, a reintroduction plan has since increased their numbers. And whereas historically, storks migrated south in the autumn, Koene says they are now staying put. “We now see that some of them remain in the Netherlands, probably due to climate change,” he told Het Parool.
Ten other breeding sites were recorded in the rest of Amsterdam: two in the Vondelpark, three in Zuid, one in the Plantagebuurt, two in Watergraafsmeer, one in the Oud-West and one in Noord.
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