Storks

Eastern Lithuania, indeed the entire country, is prime stork-sighting territory. Lithuania has approximately 13,000 pairs, giving it the highest-density stork population in Europe.

Measuring 90cm in height, this beautiful long-legged, wide-winged creature is breathtaking in flight. Equally marvellous is the catwalk stance it adopts when strutting through meadows in search of frogs to feast on. It sleeps standing on one leg.

The arrival of the stork from Africa each year marks the start of spring. Lithuanians celebrate this traditional protector of the home with Stork Day (25 March), the day farmers traditionally stir their seeds, yet to be planted, to ensure a bigger and better crop.

Storks on their return home usually settle back into the same nest they have used for years. Large and flat, the nest is balanced in a tree or atop a disused chimney or telegraph pole. Some are splayed out across wooden cartwheels, fixed on tall poles by kindly farmers keen to have their farmstead blessed by the good fortune the stork brings.