This is a short account of what happened one fine Monday around noon, March 21st of 2011, while I was at work. It won’t need many accompanying words, so I won’t deliver many. Suffice to say at the onset that it was a beautiful and blue Monday morning, as beautiful and full of migratory vibes as Mondays in spring can get after a miserable and cold, rainy, cloudy, shabby, busy & birdless weekend.

As it won’t need many words (I have mentioned this, yes?), I’ll present it as a short picture story.

There I was at my office on Monday, fully motivated after the weekend and hard at work. Birds & birding were definitely the last thing on my mind.


Suddenly my BirdAlird went off, disrupting my sleep deep thoughts and sending a mouthful of coffee over my desk – a Black Stork?!?


I immediately realized the blog potential of this, grabbed my camera and opened the window, following the precise directions of my BirdAlird, and by the Great Ghost of Audubon …


A splendid Black Stork!


The Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) has a very wide distribution in the Old World, ranging from Spain (an isolated population) and northern France through central and eastern Europe all across northern and central Asia to the Pacific coast of Russia and China. They mostly winter in Africa just south of the Sahara and in southern Asia (from India to southern China), and there is – very curiously – an isolated resident population in southern Africa. Due to its large range and population size, it is rated by the IUCN as being a species of Least Concern.

Germany currently has a population of around 500 breeding pairs, which is a significant improvement over the 50 pairs left in the early 1970s.  However, if you consider that these 500 pairs are spread out unevenly over an area of 360,000 km², and that Black Storks are very difficult to see once they start breeding, it is apparent that a Black Stork is still a very nice bird to see in Germany – anytime, anywhere.
This bird, a migrant from further North or East in Germany, was the first Black Stork I saw around Heidelberg since moving here in the summer of 2008. It was therefore well worth having to clean my desk of the coffee I spilled.

Written by Jochen
Jochen Roeder was born in Germany and raised to be a birder. He also spent a number of years abroad, just so he could see more birds. One of his most astounding achievements is the comprehension that Yellow-crowned Night-herons do not exist, as he failed to see any despite birding in North America for more than two years. He currently lives near Heidelberg, one of the most boring places for a birder to live, a fact about which he likes to whinge a lot. When he is not birding or trying to convince his teenage son that patiently scanning some fields for migrants is more fun than staring at a smartphone, he enjoys contemplating the reasoning behind the common names of birds. He first became famous in the bird blog world on Bell Tower Birding.