Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Down the Chimney

While in Florida, back in February, I was able to get a few photos of the wood stork, Mycteria americana.  They have a face 'only a mother could love.'   They look gangling and awkward with their wrinkled neck, bald forehead and long bill, yet, they can balance rather well on the thin branches of the mangroves for long periods of time.










The old tale of storks bringing babies appears to have come out of Europe, perhaps initiated during the Victorian period of modesty in discussing the facts of life.


According to the Straightdope.com,  "They (storks) arrive just about nine months after Midsummer's Day, June 21, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. This was a major festival in pagan Europe, a time for weddings as well as merrymaking well lubricated by fermented beverages. (After the arrival of Christianity the feast continued to be celebrated as Saint John's Day; the modern association of June with weddings may also be related to this festival.) The return of storks just as the progeny resulting from summer revels put in their appearance would not have gone unnoted."


These birds are also seem tolerant of human activity and nest on the roofs of houses in Europe.  Children were led to believe that the baby, like Santa, came down the chimney.  


Click on the photos, of course, for a closer look at this unusual bird.

7 comments:

Brian Miller said...

what an interesting tale behind the stork myth...ont know that i had ever heard it...love to watch the birds, stork included...miss tehm from our time in FL...

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Good Morning Tabor, Great pictures of the stork... I always wondered where the story of the stork bringing babies came from. Interesting!!!!!

I laughed at your comment about the stork's face being one that only a mother could love... Reminds me of my middle son... Mark (who is VERY handsome now) was not a pretty baby boy... He had a huge head---but as you said, this Mama thought he was gorgeous!!!! ha

Hugs,
Betsy

Barry said...

Ah, so there is some interesting history behind the stork-baby story.

You know such interesting things Tabor.

Rachel Cotterill said...

How fascinating - I've never seen one before. And the history is always interesting :)

lakeviewer said...

Nice story. I don't think I ever saw a picture of a stork. Thank you.

Hilary said...

That's one cool looking bird. I'm glad you saw him so that we all could.

Granny Annie said...

I never thought to ask the question but I'm glad you answered anyway. Of course it is great to know the origin of the tales of storks delivering babies. Thanks!