One of Portugal’s emblematic white storks (Ciconia ciconia), judged to be around four years old, was found in the Alentejo with shotgun pellets in its body and is recovering in the Algarve.
The GNR’s Nature and Environmental Protection Service (SEPNA) was called by a resident in the Ourique area of the lower Alentejo.
The bird was delivered to the Ria Formosa Wildlife Research and Recovery Centre, in Olhão on April 12th.
The manager of RIAS, Fábia Santos, said that, “when the animal arrived, an examination and an X-ray were done immediately. It was verified that the animal had ten shotgun pellets in its body, that the right wing was fractured and that it had an egg which had been damaged and was expelled by the bird.”
The stork, one of a protected species, is now in recovery mode until it can fly again and can be released.
“The bird is stable in our centre, the recovery can take several weeks, then it will be released by our team,” explained Santos.
In a report prepared by RIAS, almost as many birds have been shot in this quarter as in all of 2018.
“Last year, RIAS received eight birds that had been shot, already in the first quarter of this year we have received six shot birds, are of which have been protected species,” said the biologist.
Factiods from Wikipedia
The white stork (Ciconia ciconia) is a large bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. Its plumage is mainly white, with black on its wings. Adults have long red legs and long pointed red beaks, and measure on average 100–115 cm (39–45 in) from beak tip to end of tail, with a 155–215 cm (61–85 in) wingspan. The two subspecies, which differ slightly in size, breed in Europe (north to Finland), northwestern Africa, southwestern Asia (east to southern Kazakhstan) and southern Africa. The white stork is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Africa from tropical Sub-Saharan Africa to as far south as South Africa, or on the Indian subcontinent. When migrating between Europe and Africa, it avoids crossing the Mediterranean Sea and detours via the Levant in the east or the Strait of Gibraltar in the west, because the air thermals on which it depends for soaring do not form over water.
A carnivore, the white stork eats a wide range of animal prey, including insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and small birds. It takes most of its food from the ground, among low vegetation, and from shallow water. It is a monogamous breeder, but does not pair for life. Both members of the pair build a large stick nest, which may be used for several years. Each year the female can lay one clutch of usually four eggs, which hatch asynchronously 33–34 days after being laid. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and both feed the young. The young leave the nest 58–64 days after hatching, and continue to be fed by the parents for a further 7–20 days.
The white stork has been rated as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It benefited from human activities during the Middle Ages as woodland was cleared, but changes in farming methods and industrialisation saw it decline and disappear from parts of Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Conservation and reintroduction programs across Europe have resulted in the white stork resuming breeding in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden. It has few natural predators, but may harbour several types of parasite; the plumage is home to chewing lice and feather mites, while the large nests maintain a diverse range of mesostigmatic mites. This conspicuous species has given rise to many legends across its range, of which the best-known is the story of babies being brought by storks.