Their food sources have been depleted by the dry weather
Storks, previously near-extinct in the Northern Netherlands, are in trouble due to a drought. The rare birds, normally found in Drenthe, are again struggling because of the drought: they cannot get their usual food
The birds, which usually eat worms, are forced to rely on residual food, reports RTV Drenthe.
As soon as it rains, insects and worms emerge from the ground. But with few showers over the last few weeks, it is difficult for storks to find food for the young. This means that the Stork Conservation Centre near De Wijk has its hands full with the newborn chicks that cannot be supported by their parents.
“The parents urgently need to feed the young,” explains Frits Koopman of the stork station. “They now pick up all kinds of things in the field and that is often the wrong food. Plant remains, stones, rubber and glass are no exceptions. That does not digest in the chicks’ belly and they get a so-called ‘stone belly’ because it is so hard. The chicks then think that their belly is full and therefore stop begging. When the little stork no longer asks for food, the parents think it is time for their offspring to leave the nest while they are not yet able to go on their own. ”
The Koopman couple took in their first birds almost forty years ago. Now there are more than a hundred storks. Together with volunteers, the family ensures that the young chicks are taken care of. From South Drenthe and the Kop van Overijssel, chicks are regularly taken in that have been cast out of their nest, often by the animal ambulance. “Here we catch them and they are ringed. They are fed twice a day. Furthermore, we do not interfere too much with them so that they mature largely independently. When the time comes, we can release them again. About one a quarter of the storks that we raise here continue to roam in the Reest valley in the following period, the rest leave.”