One of the most important stork colonies in the world is located in Diyarbakır
DIYARBAKIR - One of the largest numbered colonies in the world of the longest beaked storks of migratory birds known as seasonal guests is located in Turkiye’s Diyarbakır.
One of the world's few colonies of storks, which is regarded as a symbol of fertility by the people, is located in the Bismil district of Diyarbakır. The storks that nest on top of the power poles where the high voltage lines going through are symbolic in the region.
The storks, which stand out due to the length of the beak and the feet, consist entirely of white feathers except for the wing. The storks, which are large birds and can weigh 2-3 to 4-5 pounds, are 100-115 centimeters long, prefer wetlands.
The storks come near the Dicle River to lay eggs in the spring and summer months, they migrate in the right way to the Nile River in late August.
Storks with statues planted in the center of the bazaar of Bismil are also owned by the people. Dr. Ahmet Kılıç, Biologist at Dicle University Director of Technical Sciences Vocational High School, who has been researching storks for about 15 years, shared his research with ILKHA.
Stating that the villages on the Diyarbakir-Batman Highway, which is about 500 meters away from the Dicle River, are very suitable for their feeding of these birds, Prof. Dr. Kılıç said that a total of 128 nestling hatched from 45 nests this year.
Stating that the storks were attached to their nests, Kılıç said that the spouses found each other through the nests and that the storks used the same nest for decades.
“Storks have important mission in the ecosystem"
Kılıç states that one of the world's most stork colonies is located on Diyarbakır-Batman Highway, “They make their nests in concrete and steel poles in high voltage lines, parallel to Dicle River and Diyarbakır-Batman Highway. Depending on the concrete and electric poles, the distance among nests is approximately 200 meters colonies. We followed the nest between Yuvacik and Köseli villages, which we considered only a distance of 20 kilometers. We started this work in 2003, so there is a regular colony ‘do they have numerical changes in the population over the years? Are they affected by these natural events?' we thought. We reached some interesting results; about 46 to 58 nests are being used each year. In general, the owners of the nests are the former owners, the storks know their own nests. They do not go to someone else's nests and do not accept others to get their nests. Storks have important missions in the ecosystem at the same time. These can be explained by the fact that we are called 'food chain'. Storks are carnivores; they eat snakes, frogs, fish and various insects. For example, they are fed with earthworms during the cultivation of the fields. So storks in the food pyramid have such a mission.”
“Citizens shows serious care not to disturb them”
Kılıç stating that storks are protected by the local people, “Local people grown products such as corn, cot, on and cereal intensively where the poles and storks are not affected at all. Citizens take serious care to not disturb them. The local people are close to these animals. The storks are regarded as sacred because they migrate to the south at the same time. We were also interested, we started our work in 2003 and we continue in 2017. Storks come to our country in February. First, comes the 'pioneers', they find their own nests, they come to their own nests and start to spend their nights there. In the middle of March, other residents of the population are coming. They then start to continue their relationship with their spouses, but this time they continue their efforts to build a nest. Already there is a nest, but they bring new material on top of it, so they are preparing a more hygienic environment for both eggs and nestling.”
“The characteristics of the Diyarbakır’s population are that they have 5 nestling, 4 nestling or 3 nestling”
Reminiscent of the storks began to hatch at the end of March Kılış said, “Storks are known to lay 5 eggs. They start to incubate from the first egg, the spouses do this alternately, they keep incubating together, and after a month, nestlings can be seen. Babies need care from their parents for about 2 months. The Diyarbakır population is characterized by the presence of 5 nestlings, 4 nestlings or 3 nestlings. Why? Because the food is provided at a distance of 50 meters from the Dicle River and no more than 500 meters. Therefore, all of them live because the nestlings do not suffer from hunger. These numerical data are very few in other places, generally on average, we know from research, they have one or two nestlings in other places but here, we can see 4 nestlings and 5 nestlings.”
“They are getting rid of the effects of the wild animals by making their nest close to humans”
Expressing that the high-voltage lines for storks are advantageous for flights, Kılıç continued as follows:
“It is a great advantage that the storks are close to the river. Other than that, the high-voltage lines are a great advantage for storks, as it is more comfortable to fly or to land. Therefore they prefer these voltage lines. Another interesting feature is that they concentrate close to the villagers here while they run away from people in many places. Because they are getting rid of hunters, especially the predatory birds, by being close to the villagers. For example, formerly they built the nest in the city of Diyarbakır, and then they were pulled back when urbanization increased. They are getting rid of owls or from daytime rattles by building their nests close to people. For example, storks are raising few nestlings during periods of drought. The effect of the famine is spreading to the vegetation, to the water. Storks also prefer especially fertile places.”
“Storks need to be taken as an example of their loyalty to the nest”
Stating that the storks used their nests for decades, Kılıç said, “This loyalty of the storks is actually a good example of other creatures. Storks especially tied to their nests. Spouses use the same nest for decades. Storks can use a nest for up to 30 years. So, their loyalty to the house needs to be taken as an example for us.”
"We have detected 280 bird species in Diyarbakır"
“Diyarbakır's richness is not just for storks,” Kılıç said and continued as: “At the same time, we found 280 species of birds in Diyarbakır. In the city center you can see 180 species of birds within a year. Diyarbakır can be thought of as an 'open air museum' and it can be considered as a ‘bird's paradise’. Because the Dicle Valley is very fertile; in the Dicle Valley there is a dense irrigated agriculture, the yield is quite high. The storks are benefiting from it.”
“We need to understand the nature, we need to respect the nature”
Kılıç expressed that every living thing on the table is a value, continued his words as follows:
“These are our riches. We can call them biological diversity, biological wealth, natural wealth. If there are plants in nature, if there are animals, there are people too. There are no people where there are no animals, no plants. Therefore, we need to understand the nature, should not to disrupt the natural structure. We need to cultivate agriculture, we have to take advantage of various forms, but when doing these things, we have to respect the nature. It turns out to be a disaster to us if we change its natural structure too much. For example, when houses are built on a riverbed, when it floods, it takes away all of them. If you leave various chemicals to the water, they return to people as nutrients. If we use drugs in excessive quantities, their harm turns back to humans. We need to understand the nature, we need to respect the nature. Of course we will use the nature in this respect. Every living thing on the table is a value, each of which can be thought of as a part of the mosaic or as part of a chapter. We need to respect these things.”
The residents of Yuvacik village, who hosted storks, said that they believed that the storks bring blessings and that they did not harm the cultivated fields.
Villagers also stated that the storks are effective against harmful insects, rodents and reptiles in the fields, are also the heralds of spring at the same time. (M. Hüseyin Temel, Mehmet Çelik, Emrah Deniz - ILKHA)