The stork is a dynamic species and has colonized all Loire-Atlantique wetlands in recent years. It must be said that the food there is good and in abundance since the arrival of especially the red marsh crayfish, which have invaded the marsh and the surroundings of the Grand-Lieu lake.
“Man is a super predator for animals, the one who is afraid is the bird. There are many exceptions. With a bear I would probably be less confident. Storks do not attack humans. But you have to be wary of certain less light birds. Herons , for example, never hesitate to strike with a big notch. “
Jean-Yves Brié, a volunteer in the Loire-Atlantique association for knowledge and ornithological research, kneels in the grass, cursing two storks. The kids are gentle and quiet, not panic at all. It must be said that the enthusiast knows how to do it. He has been doing this for almost twenty years.
And climbing high does not scare him. That morning, to pick up the cattle, you have to climb more than 10 meters. The operation must enable the identification of each sample.
In Brains, in this grazed meadow, the birds have ridden on a disused post. “You have to approach carefully. I want to climb the ladder and lower the little ones to call them.” Bad surprise in the nest, a corpse. “When food is lacking, it is always the youngest who dies. He is sometimes thrown overboard by the others or even by the adults”. The remaining pups, those from the last litter, are lowered into a comfortable wicker basket.
In fact, the kids are stressed “but they kill” Jean-Yves Brié explains very seriously. In fact, not a shiver, not a shake, not a feather moves.
The birds lying on a blanket, still covered by a young down, let themselves go without shaking. Everything is measured, legs, wings, head beak. “It’s part of the protocol”says the volunteer. “This makes it possible to follow the animal’s development. The rings, which usually stay seated all their lives, are easy to read with the glasses.”
Animals are also weighed. 1.9 kilos for one of them. The blood test will make it possible to define gender and any traces of contaminants.
“I thought I would find bigger storks. Of course we are on a late fry. When I started ringing in 2005, we had ringed one or two nests in May. By the end of May we had already made half of The birds come earlier and earlier The hatching is earlier than before“, Notes Jean-Yves.
Every year in June, the volunteers of the Association for Knowledge and Ornithological Research in the Loire-Atlantique organize a ringing operation of the storks. Since the 2000s, the migratory bird has been in full demographic expansion in the department.
The significant increase in populations in Western Europe, France and on the Atlantic coast will also be linked to the change in migratory behavior .
“Going to Africa, to the south, is extremely dangerous. They are not protected. The journey is very tiring. The danger is everywhere. Their journey.”
Now they only move to North Africa or Spain. “Among slightly older adults, some stay here to spend the winter”says Jean-Yves Brié.
They are long-lived and able to learn. They may realize that in the end it may not be the best way to survive the winter by going very far.Jean-Yves Brie
Volunteer at ACROLA
They arrived here in 1989. At that time, the men gave them a hand in helping them land by making platforms. “We built a mast with a support. We added a few branches to it. The storks quickly took over these places. Today, there are about forty of them in the department. Now there are enough of them to fend for themselves.”
The nests have become natural, most are in the trees. Others, more cumbersome, on high voltage power lines. 100 are listed. “It is dangerous for the birds, and in case of electrical incidents it causes problems.”
Storks remain wild animals . “For the most part, the only thing that needs to be done is to leave them alone. If the bird is injured, we can catch it. Then we must warn the guards from the French Office of Biodiversity. They are the only ones allowed to move them. . The birds, in case of injury or illness, are transported to the Oniris Center, the game management center in Nantes.
And for the record, contrary to legend, no, large birds do not live a full life in a pair. “They are true to a breeding ground, not a partner. In the spring, everyone is busy reproducing,” the volunteer concludes.