Black stork quarrels with white storks

Black stork quarrels with white stork in Schoonebeek, photo by Boudewijn Benting

This Boudewijn Benting photo shows a black stork quarreling with a white stork at the nest in Schoonebeek, Drenthe province in the Netherlands.

Translated from Dagblad van het Noorden daily in the Netherlands, 9 April 2020, by Frank Jeuring:

A black stork has settled in the village park of Schoonebeek since Wednesday afternoon. To the great surprise of bird experts, the special animal immediately quarrelled with another pair of [white] storks.

Joop Scherpen from Schoonebeek has been a volunteer in the village park for many years and according to him, it is already a rarity when common storks come here. But a week and a half ago, the first couple suddenly registered. They wanted to build a nest in the nest post in the park. It is quite remarkable that there is now also a black stork in the village park to admire. “When I saw him on Wednesday, I thought: what is this? It is really a very special animal to see.”

But even more remarkable than the appearance, according to Scherpen, is the behaviour of the animal. “He keeps chasing the other pair of storks out of the nest. They are mating and now he stops building their nest”, he says.

“Much shyer”

According to experts from BirdLife, this is a unique situation because this behaviour does not suit this bird.

Frits Koopman, manager of Ooievaarsstation De Lokkerij in De Schiphorst, is also surprised. “This is very remarkable because we don’t know this from the black stork. Normally this animal is much shyer than the common stork”, he says. “Moreover, this species does not usually breed on high nesting posts, but rather in low bushes or on rocky edges.”

According to Koopman, the animal mainly occurs east of the River Elbe. According to him, the Netherlands does not belong to the normal habitat of the bird, but the animal does pop up here more often. “Although it is still a rare appearance in the Netherlands. Bird watchers will go there if he can be seen anywhere”, he says.

“As far as I am concerned, he will fly on quickly”

The stork expert suspects that the animal lost its way during the migration of the birds. “It could be that he lost his group or that he lost his way while migrating and ended up in Schoonebeek”, he says. …

However, the Schoonebeker prefers to see the animal relocate as soon as possible. “That nest pole in the park may have been there for thirty years, without ever having a stork on it. And precisely now he disturbs the other storks when building their nest. So, as far as I’m concerned, he will fly on quickly.”