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Posts Tagged ‘white stork’

Caracal vs. Hyenas

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First, an amazing leap to catch a white stork on the wing, and then she has to fight off the hyenas– who steal her stork supper.

But at least they didn’t eat her kittens.

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Catie took this photo of a white stork nest in Romania.

Many European visitors to this blog probably know this species well.  These birds do very well in urban environments. They simply build their big nests on power lines and roofs.

This is the legendary “stork” that brings babies to new parents.

I suppose this story makes sense to European children, but to North American children who live where there are no storks, this story was a bit hard to believe. If there are no storks around here, how did we come to be?

It sounded too much like a fairy tale to me.

Where I live, the closest thing to a stork is the turkey vulture. Turkey vultures, like all New World vultures, are actually more closely related to storks than they are to Old World vultures. Old World vultures are closely related to the raptors.

The New World vultures had a common ancestry with the storks. Although they do look very similar to the Old World vultures, they don’t have that much in common in terms of their most recent evolutionary history.

The similarities between these scavengers developed as a result of convergent evolution. Bald heads mean that¬† rotten offal is not left clinging to the feathers on one’s head, which increases the risk of infection. Sharp bills can tear open the toughest hides.

Despite the similarities, the turkey vulture counts the baby-delivering stork as a closer relative than any of the African vultures we have seen on so many nature shows.

Of course, being told that the turkey vulture or “buzzard” delivered you might be traumatic for a child.

So I think I’ll just leave this one alone.

***

I first learned of storks from these commercials:

Source.

While most people think of storks delivering babies, I think of them as having something to do with pickles.

I also thought Grouch Marx did a good impression of the Vlasic stork.

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