What a surprise to discover White Storks nesting in the city of Amsterdam. The pair in Vondelpark have been using a high secluded platform (roped off from the public) for several years, and there are other pairs in other city parks.
We also saw a single stork, perched on a tree trunk near the dogs' play area in Vondelpark, apparently unfazed by both dogs and passersby.
These storks are very impressive birds — about four feet long, beak to tail, with wingspans up to seven feet.
I've read that birds returned to nesting in Amsterdam some years ago, after a gap of a few decades. Nesting platforms have been built to encourage males to settle and wait for the females, who arrive later from Africa each year.
One walker we met in the park said that each spring, it's a beautiful yet poignant sight, watching the male alone, building the nest, calling for the female, hoping she'll make the trip safely.
Because of their size or wide distribution across Europe, legends have arisen about storks — including the story that they deliver babies, which has led to the stork becoming a symbol for midwives.
|Yes, there is a White Stork here -- a small model to the left|
of the windows, the sign that this was the midwife's house.
Seen from the Amsterdam canal tour boat. © SB