Alsatian Heart~

Pair of White Storks mating in Alsace France. (Click on photos to view full size).

The White Stork is the beloved emblem of the Alsace region of France and appears in symbols and art everywhere in the region.

Yet, by mid-1970, there were only ten mating pairs of White Storks left in Alsace.

They were virtually extinct in this area, although thriving in other parts of the world.

Today, due to local co-operative conservation efforts, there are now an estimated 600 mating pairs of White Storks in Alsace.

Stork populations were decimated mostly by power line electrocution and habitat destruction.

I was fortunate to see this pair in the process of mating and nest-building.

When we returned to our apartment after a day of stork watching, I photographed a pair of local falcon’s mating on a nearby balcony. It is springtime in France after all! Vive La France!

White Storks mate for life, and return to the same nests each year.

Cheers to you from Alsace’s beautiful, White Storks~

254 thoughts on “Alsatian Heart~

    1. I do too, and what I notice often, is this is accomplished by dedicated individuals working together to protect and conserve. The conservation efforts of people in Alsace is so impressive~

  1. You are making a wonderful trip through my continent Cindy. I envy you and it makes me want to pack my suitcase again and take a train, plane or bus to everywhereland. The story of the storks is the same as in my country, the Netherlands. They were almost extinct and then by breeding programs reintroduced, and now they thrive. We got a pair nesting in the vincinity of my house. A well known and much loved little song over here tells about the weeping frog with her son sitting on her knee (!). She explains to him that the boy’s father was eaten by that stork over there. The little frog says: ‘Dear mother, when I’ll be grown, I’ll beat him to jelly’ 🙂 The good news is: after being almost gone as well, the frogs are back again in our ponds and ditches!

    1. Oh what a wonderful, rich, comment!
      “It makes me want to pack my suitcase again and take a train, plane or bus to everywhereland.”
      I always feel this way, so I understand exactly what you are saying. In everywhereland there is so much beauty, and I want to see as much of it as I possibly can. People like you understand and you express it movingly.
      How wonderful that you have a nest nearby! You can photograph the chicks! I will be gone before they hatch, so I would love to see your photographs.
      The frogs are back, the storks are back, so little children can still be sung their special song once again!
      Some things are right in the world. Thank you for telling me this. It made me happy. <3

  2. An absolutely smashing set of photos, Cindy!
    The storks are such a strong Alsatian symbol. <3
    To go to sleep
    we count storks
    not sheep
    Thanks for sharing for your magnificent impressions. Happy Easter to you all! 🐣🐰🐣

    1. How wonderful! After watching the storks, I fell asleep with their distinctive clacking calls singing in my head, in a gorgeous old Alsatian house. I can so understand why these graceful, faithful and beautiful creatures are such an important cultural symbol. Cheers to you my friend and happy stork filled dreams~ <3

  3. Once again Cindy your photographs are superb, giving us a close-up that lets enjoy the the incredible clarity and detailing of the beautiful birds.

    1. They are so gorgeous aren’t they. We can so clearly see why all this mythology and symbolism rose up around them. Graceful, faithful and beautiful creatures~ <3

    1. Can you imagine what a loss it would have been if they have become extinct from Alsace. They are under threat in other areas too, like so many of our wild creatures great and small~

    1. I am glad you see the tenderness. It was so evident. The photos may not show it, but the male was very gentle and solicitous towards the female. The bond between them was quite moving to see. Happy Easter Dor~

    1. I’ve missed turkeys, but ducks are seriously brutal, so I know what you mean. But the storks mating was actually quite tender. There was solicitousness consistently from the male. I think they press the beaks to avoid accidental injury, trust me I am guessing here, I am not an expert on storks, but the mating was really quite gentle. If there is a stork expert reading this, I hope they chime in and let us know.

    1. Luck, being quiet, standing still, but being mobil, ie., no tripod, and going outside a lot. Plus, I swear, keeping my telephoto on full zoom stuck to my eye with no tripod so I can move when I want, interests birds and wild animals. They always stare into the lens, wondering God only knows what!!! Maybe they wonder what sort of creature is that? Most photographers I see photographing birds use tripods. I never do, so I bet I look weird. As a matter of fact I know I look weird.
      So, thats the key, just go outside with a camera stuck to your face, and look weird, and voulah.
      Aren’t you sad you asked???? 🙂

  4. I didn’t realize white storks mate for life — just look at all the interesting things I’m learning from “our” travels together, Cindy! Thank you!!

    1. And thank goodness google is here to make me look like I know what I am talking about! Martha Stewart is right. You can learn new things every day. She probably googled that……

  5. From 10 to 600… that’s a feat and a good news in this world where news tend to be just the bad but not so much the good that persons can accomplish. Thanks very much, Cindy. : )

    1. Sie nisten jetzt im ganzen Elsaß. Ich sehe jeden Tag Nester auf Schornsteinen, Türmen, Dächern. Es ist wunderbar! Glücklichste Ostern zu Ihnen Ernst ~

  6. Ah, love is in the air! Thanks for sharing information about the White Stork’s comeback. We’re truly fortunate to be able to witness their beauty today. 🙂

    1. They are upscale storks who accept nothing but the best in terms of accomodation! Their nests get huge because they use them every year and they are on chimneys, trees, roofs, towers, you name it. I have been watching one lone stork on their nest waiting for the mate who isn’t showing up. Very sad.
      Happy Easter to you Mandy~ <3

  7. Oh how I enjoyed seeing the mating, the proliferation in action, of this special species, Cindy. It is a marvelous thing that conservationists were able to revive the species. Bonjour to you, my friend, and mercie for the wonderful photos.

  8. So beautiful pictures! 🙂 Here in southern Sweden we have several successful projects to get the stork back again. Where I live, two pairs now breed, and one of them stays all year long.

  9. What a beauty of photos. They are a dream to enjoy the natural environment of these birds. Trasmites their work with a unique sharpness. You can enjoy art more than you can.

    1. It is now 3 degrees celcius in Germany with snow expected! First we had a month of heat waves, and now snow, and our hotel heating system isn’t working. Ah, the joys of travel! It, like life, is not always sunny days and skies unfortunately! Hugs to you Brenda~ <3

  10. These birds are lovely. What a blessing to be able to capture these photos. I am happy they are multiplying in number in Alsace. Their mating behavior is quite romantic and amusing. <3

    1. There was a tenderness to the whole process that surprised me. I couldn’t include the whole process as it would be too many photos. But it was really quite lovely. Cheers & hugs to you Nancy~ <3

  11. Beautiful beautiful Cindy! I can’t imagine how you managed to capture all that1 We saw storks on our visit to that region– remember their huge nests on church rooftops. And there were storks who migrated up from north Africa to Andalucia when we lived there. So regal! Thanks for taking the time to photograph them so perfectly for us…

    1. You are very kin and yes, they do migrate from Africa, and I saw storks today near Heidelberg, although not white storks. The white stork nests all over Alsace now which is wonderful. How wonderful for you to have lived amongst them in Andalucia! Hugs to you Rhonda~

        1. We were in Baden Baden over Easter and loved it! I will be posing on it soon. It is gorgeous! I loved the mandarin ducks in the River Oos and the tulips and we stayed in Brenners Park as a present for my husband’s birthday and it was so lovely! <3

                  1. I know. I find normal comments in my spam folder too sometimes. I think it’s when the comments contains a link or two one can end up in spam folder.

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