Behold a Stork! Sightings During Cycling Trip

Stork sighting. Bodesweier, Germany June 2010. Photo by HJEH Becker
Stork sighting. Bodesweier, Germany June 2010. Photo by HJEH Becker

Some European countries have a historic love affair with the stork. This bird was the convenient explanation for little children in Germany, France and elsewhere, for how babies were delivered into the world.

While on the Northwest coast, it’s the kitschy toy whales or seals, in Germany and France, it’s the fuzzy stuffed stork, decoy stork or stork keychain for tourists.

But during our cycling trip from Strasbourg, France to Karlsruhe, Germany,  we were startled by a pair

Decoy stork. Strasbourg, France 2010.
Decoy stork. Strasbourg, France 2010.

of  real storks.  It was during a rest stop in Bodersweier, one of several picturesque German towns, 19 kms. northeast of Strasbourg. I had stopped just a few metres away from the town’s rathaus or town hall while Jack consulted the bike map.

Suddenly there was a loud clicking above us. There were two storks watching us nervously  from their large twiggy nest that overflowed  the chimney on top of a church. Prolonged clicking ensued as we took a few photos of the jittery parent-birds.

Though Jack had seen storks on previous trips in Germany, I was mesmerized to see this fabled bird. To a neophyte stork-watcher, it was a

Stork parents looking after nest. Bodersweier, Germany June 2010. Photo by HJEH Becker
Stork parents looking after nest. Bodersweier, Germany June 2010. Photo by HJEH Becker

strangely perfect moment in a quiet,  Black Forest village  with half-timbered homes, flower box windows and manicured gardens. Similar to the magic of seeing a bald-head eagle for the first time, sweeping along a rocky coast over the ocean.


Interesting Reading:
An informal encyclopedic summary about the stork, both scientific and mythological.

Stork mythology thrives.  Copenhagen, Denmark June 2010.
Stork mythology thrives. Copenhagen, Denmark June 2010. Photo by J. Chong

12 Comments Add yours

  1. I have always thought that the best way to discover a place was to walk because cars just go too fast. I generally walk but after a while I feel a burning pain in my tighs (lack of excercise maybe?). I will now consider biking but I reckon from here to Germany, it will be a long ride!
    I have heard of a biking tour the last time I went to NY. I should do that next time.

    This last picture looks like a cake and your post reminded me of these looney tunes episodes where they would show a bird flying a new born to his/her parents.
    It’s funny what parents make up when they don’t want young ears to hear some details not suitable for their age.


  2. Jean says:

    I absolutely agree with you hibiscusjaune. Montreal certainly is a city that’s easier to enjoy on bike or by walking. It has some great bike routes and your city/province has a strong, well-respected cycling organization, Velo Quebec.

    I have cycled-explored your city twice, with one trip that included the annual Tour d’Ile that attracts thousands of cyclists. Quite festive!

    Travel on bike in the Canadian Maritime provinces also gives one a far more accurate feel of the terrain (not as flat as it looks), vegetation and greater tendency to notice historic markers along the way.

    The stork pair sighting was a wonderful surprise during our bike trip. For a few moments with the surroundings, it felt like something out of a fairytale book –except I didn’t know that storks could be so loud and noisy.


  3. Le tour de l’île! Now this is a must for bike fanatics. I haven’t been to one yet becaues I’m a little but busy and I also wonder how it works from the inside. I think kids also participate in this event.

    Is it convenient to bike with plenty of people around or is there more space than I seem to think?


  4. Jean says:

    At the start of the ride, it was abit crowded. Any major bike ride organizer tends to send off their riders in waves of groups if the crowd is too large.

    Probably hasn’t changed much. Then later when we rode on the route, we were more spaced out. Some of the neighbourhoods we rode through were watching/cheering the cyclists on. Quite festive.

    I apologize for my missing de l’accent de circumflex in previous message –the little hat/chapeau.


  5. A real stork! After all the myths and legends surrounding storks, I always pictured them carrying babies to their destinations. 🙂


    1. Jean says:

      Yes, we were astounded to see them above us. I never dreamt of seeing any stork. It never entered my consciousness when we went to Europe. He has seen them before since he’s been to Germany several times.


  6. I love these chance encounters when out biking. I’m sure by now you must’ve seen a heap more. Was thinking on doing my next blog on just this subject.


    1. Jean says:

      A stork was by far, the most “exotic” for me. We don’t have storks in Canada. During some bike trips, we’ve seen bald eagles (They are common along the Pacific Northwest coast in North America, but not so ubiquitous as the sparrow or chickadee birds.), bighorn sheep (Rocky Mountains)..I haven’t seen moose yet but my partner has on bike.


  7. velovoiceblogspot says:

    What a lovely encounter!
    For some reason, I was put in mind of Liver Birds — the symbol for the city of Liverpool here in the UK. Info on Wikipedia as ever:
    Oddly, the bird name is “LIE-VER” (with pronunciation of the first syllable being as in “Live on Air”) whereas the city is “LIV-ER-POOL” (with the first syllable taking the short-I sound as in “I live in Canada”. This perplexes me, but I don’t mind. 😉


    1. Jean says:

      Very interesting Velovoice on the background behind the city name of Liverpool. Thank you. The end result to rest of the world is clumsy, misleading, etc.
      Yes, the real stork sight was very interesting to us. My partner had seen a stork another time years ago. But not I. The sound is highly unexpected, the loud clacking sound from a bird icon that is supposed to delivery sweet baby in our nursery stories.


  8. O what a great shot of the nest and the parents.


    1. Jean says:

      It was a treat for us to see real storks at that time.


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