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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

S is for Storks




S is for Stork



A few years ago we had the opportunity to spend a week in Marrakech, Morocco. The White Stork was a dominate figure on the landscape in this ancient walled city. These birds are considered holy in Marrakech.



Known to be monogamous, the White Stork often returns to the same nest year after year.



They are large birds with long legs, a long neck, and a long stout bill. Completely white except for the black feathers on the wings, these birds can weigh 10 pounds.



We sat and watched the activity of this nest from the terrace of our room as this pair of white storks came and went. They were most attentive to the young hatchlings in the nest. It was difficult to catch the babies with the camera, but we could see them on occasion when one of the parents returned to feed them.



The nests were huge, and as you can see were perched atop these towers. There were stork nests high up on the minarets and the towers of the kasbahs throughout the city.



Storks are mostly silent and do not have a bird call. Instead they click their bill together to cause a clattering sound as their mode of communication. This clattering could be heard when the parents were together on the nest.



Storks generally lay 3-5 eggs. We occasionally saw little heads pop up from inside this nest off and on.



Being heavy birds with a wide wing span, storks mostly soar or glide rather than flapping their wings. This helps them to conserve energy in flight.



Storks fly with their neck outstretched and their long legs stretched out behind them.



This hand crafted silver bookmark is one of the souvenirs from our trip. This graceful cigogne has a delightful tassel that hangs from the feet.



Anyone who enjoys embroidery, needlepoint, or counted cross stitch will likely recognize these gold-plated stork scissors. Long a classic scissor design used in the needle arts, the scissors shown above on the left were my very first pair of handwork scissors. They are German made, while the newer and somewhat smaller one on the right is Italian.



This pair is unmarked, but newly made. Note the interesting "feet" below the finger holes on the one on the left and the flat tipped bill of the one on the right. I'm not certain what the intended purpose is for the "feet", but the flat tipped bill comes in handy for pulling a needle though heavy layers of thread.



This one was hand forged by a talented blacksmith from Uzbekistan. I purchased it last summer at the International Folk Art Market held in Santa Fe, NM. You can read a previous post about this annual event here.



Storks have long been associated with happiness and prosperity. The White Stork is also associated with childbirth in Western culture. The stork's role in nursery stories and folklore most likely originated in Germany or the Netherlands. The image above of a stork delivering a new born baby has been common since Victorian times.

For more Letter S Lessons, click here to glide on over to Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.

This post will also be linked to the following weekly parties hosted by these lovely ladies:



29 comments:

  1. I would have loved to be on your trip and to observe the storks! What huge nests they have! What large birds they are! Your post reminded me of the children's book "Wheel on the School," by Meindert DeJong where the school children in a small village realize that storks won't nest on their roofs because they roofs are too pointy. Fun book! Joni

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  2. Very interesting post and beautiful pictures. (I have a pair of German stork scissors, too.)

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  3. What a great post! I didn't know that storks were associated with that part of the world. When we lived in the Black Forest area of Germany we saw many stork nests and many stork-themed restaurants and businesses.

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  4. Fascinating S post, Sarah. The needlepoint scissors are lovely. Mr B has Marrakesh on his travel wishlist, hopefully we'll see the storks for ourselves one day.
    ~Maggie~

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  5. What a great trip you must have had! I was distracted by reading that you were in Morocco! I've never seen a real stork but I do have stork scissors.

    Very interesting post.

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  6. HI Sarah..yay..that was absolutely wonderful...and wow.. love all those charming scissors..how beautiful!! What a great read..I have never seen a stork's nest ever..what a treat....so this post was just fabulous! What a gift! Beautiful!! Yay..thanks for sparking my day with stork magic! Are you scissors magical too?
    They sure look it!
    Have a dazzling day!
    Kiki~

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  7. What fun to see Sarah, and the scissors are so neat.
    Storks seem to be revered in the Alsace region of France too,they are on some of the Laget faience plates. How neat to see a nest!

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  8. Good Morning Sarah,

    I love your stork pictures and the story that went right along with them! Wow, that must have been amazing to watch!

    Thanks for sharing with us today. I hope you have plans for a great Memorial Day weekend!

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  9. that must have been a great trip! love the stork shots, i would have been mesmerized!

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  10. What a amazinng nest! The stork chose such a unique placd to build his nest.

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  11. Hi, Sarah!

    I loved reading about storks, and I don't think I've ever seen them in the wild. That's so neat that you got a picture of them. I've seen tons and tons of very interesting birds (cranes, herons, egrets, eagles, flamingos, rare woodpeckers, etc.) but nary a stork. Neat that you got that shot of them in their nest!!!

    I love those stork scissors! Please tell me those cute things are yours!

    Wishing you a very happy Memorial Day Weekend, Sarah! Be safe!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  12. Hi Sarah!
    That was fascinating! I did not know they didn't have a call..
    The bookmark is wonderful!
    Have a great weekend!

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  13. Hi Sarah! I loved this post! When I first saw the photo on the dashboard, I thought that you were in Alsace! There was a chapter on ecology in my old French textbook that had a reading on the storks there. I was so thrilled when I finally got to go and see them and their huge nests in person...amazing! I loved your other little stork goodies, too...especially those scissors! Have a great weekend...hugs...Debbie

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  14. i love how huge their nest is :D

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  15. Dear Sarah, thank you so much for sharing this nice stork observation. I enjoyed it very much.
    I have visited Marrakech long time ago and the trip was like an old fairy tale of 1001 nights.
    I really love your collection of amazing stork scissors. I would think, the one with "feet" is for manicure, could that be? The other one, on the right side of this photo could be an umbilical clamp. I have seen such antique stork umbilical clamps in silver, made by several silversmiths in Hanau. And I love the little one from Usbekistan. Such a good handcraft, made with love.
    Lovely greetings, Johanna

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  16. Fantastic pictures of the storks on top of the roof..Superb post!

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  17. Whoa, that is some nest! Fantastic pictures!! Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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  18. Wow, those nests looks HUGE. How neat that you got to see them in person. I've seen those scissors before in my yarn and cross stitch catalogs. They are lovely. Great S post.

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  19. Thanks for sharing all this storklore. I never even thought about where they lived. They were just cartoons in my head.

    The scissors are spectacular.

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  20. What an amazing journey...both yours and ours today as we sojourn here for a moment on our travels through Alphabe-Thursday's Letter "S"!

    This was really interesting to me.

    I knew nothing about storks...at all... except the folklore aspect.

    Their nests are so interesting.

    I've always admired thate style of scissors.

    How different each of yours are!

    Thanks for a great link!

    A+

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  21. I didn't know they had such HUGE nests, right out in the open! I use my stork scissors every day. I was hoping the stork was going to bring my baby when I was expecting, but nope, he came the hurtful ouchy way.

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  22. These are fabulous pictures! I think these funny birds are a wonderul creature of God. You captured this big bird beautifully. I love the tower the nest is perched on!
    Yvonnne

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  23. oh those pictures are just wonderful and those nests are amazing! Such and interesting S post!

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  24. How cool was that?! Morocco and the white stork! I would have shot photos endlessly. Fabulous S!

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  25. Those scissors are so unusual and so pretty! Loved the photos of the stork. And the information I didn't know.
    Brenda

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  26. what a great trip! I had no idea that their nest were so LARGE - way cool.

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  27. I would love to see that in real life! How amazing.

    Thanks for posting this-very educational! I think YOU are the bestest S in this post though!!!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha.

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  28. Sure wouldn't want that ol' stork to build her nest on the top of my chimney. Would be good for any of us.

    Very interesting. Would love to watch them fly.

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Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.

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