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: