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STATES CHRONICLE – Storks, like many other birds of the world, migrate to warmer areas of the planet when the cold season approaches. However, many of them have started to give up on migration. While some do it because of global warming which makes them lack the need for warmer temperatures, European white storks are remaining in Portugal and Spain all year round because of food.
Now don’t think someone is feeding or taking care of them, nor did they find some sort of delicacy, but rather fell in love with landfills full of junk food. This was recently discovered by a team of researchers from the University of East Anglia in the U.K.
According to the study before the 1980s, all birds were migrating, and none remained neither in Spain nor Portugal during the cold season. After that, things have changed starting with the early 80s. Today more and more birds are choosing to stay.
To get an idea of how many storks there are you should know that back in 1995 Portugal had a population of 1,187 birds and now the country has about 14,000. 80 percent of them are not leaving in winter time. The main reason behind their stay is the landfill sites which create a reliable food source for the entire year.
For the study, researchers caught 48 birds and tracked them with GPS devices, gathering data over several years. All 48 birds were living permanently in landfill nests. They feed on what they find in the garbage and seem to be living quite well, as a matter of fact.
Even birds which don’t live the landfills go there for food, so these areas have become a true food source for the storks that are changing their lifestyle and eating habits. On one hand this is good news as it means the birds are easily adapting to different environments.
Moreover, staying at home also helps the birds mate in time, with no delays caused by migration. It is not yet sure how good the food they consume is for them, but the birds seem to adapt and live well. Besides, this isn’t exactly a first in the history of bird migration as the Canada goose, and the turkey vulture has also given up on migration and remained at home a long time ago.
Image source: www.bing.com