Polish Storks

Part of the Polish Landscape

Part of the Polish Landscape

It is impossible to imagine the Polish landscape without storks, their clatter and dignified walk across the Polish meadow. A quarter of all storks reside in Poland. The seasons change and their departure for warmer climes is met with sadness. Their return is always eagerly awaited as it heralds spring. Polish people repair their nests, or build new ones. Polish bird watchers can even observe storks thanks to cameras installed in their nests (there are 100 cameras in Europe, 12 in Poland). What is more, GPS technology allows us to accompany some of them on their journeys. In the past, the Polish obsession with storks went even further. On 21 June 1939, the Illustrated Daily Courier (IKC) wrote about unusual events taking place in two small Polish villages near Pińsk, in Lemieszowice and Kaczanowice. A team of Polish scientists, lead by Professor Kazimierz Wodzicki, were capturing storks in order to observe, analyse and tag the birds. The scientists also wanted to find out whether the magnetic field of the earth affected the flight of these birds so they attached small magnets to the storks in order to disrupt their geomagnetism. Other storks were put on planes and flown to London in order to see if they would find their way back to their ‘homeland’ when released in England, a country with no stork population. Professor Kazimierz Wodzicki was elected a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1962 and his pioneering work was rewarded with an OBE in 1976.

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