Stork Rattles German Town Or At Least Costs Folks A Lot Of Money

So a big ole stork is terrorizing the German town of Bergholz, with the supposedly rogue bird going on a rampage of denting cars, knocking on windows, and even pounding on doors.

Hmm.

Most of us know the story of the stork that brings babies and good luck by nesting on the roof of your house. That’s a story from European folklore, told about the migratory White Stork, which returns every year in the spring.

Apparently the fine folks of Bergholz have decided that the long-legged birds aren’t as lucky as advertised, thanks to the antics of at least one criminal stork described as “laying siege” to the village.

The Local quoted a woman on Friday who said that the stork was pounding on her door at 5 AM. “How do we protect ourselves?” she asked, since the stork family reportedly still has three babies in the nest and won’t be leaving the German town until the fall migration.

If that sounds like a stupid question, well, the birds are fairly big, sometimes reaching heights of almost four feet tall. Still, I don’t think she needs to worry about getting involved in hand-to-hand combat with a stork any time soon.

However, officials quoted in Spiegel Online pointed out that the stork isn’t really any laughing matter. The aggressive bird was caught pounding on at least four cars with such violence that it left dents resulting in almost $400 to $1,300 in damage to each vehicle.

I might not have used the word “terrorize,” which their report did. But I’ll admit I would be annoyed if that happened to me.

German White Stork expert Helmut Eggers said that German cars are made of better, more reflective materials these days. When aggressive birds see their own reflection in the shiny surfaces, they think it’s a rival White Stork and they strike out to drive the intruder away.

One of The Local’s readers agreed, leaving the dry comment that, “German cars are obviously too clean and shiny.”

The White Stork is a common and increasing species, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature red list. The species seems to benefit from human structures, taking advantage of rooftops, telephone poles, nesting platforms, and other artificial structures to build its nest.

While for whatever random reason only this stork became famous, Eggers said he knew of others doing the same thing.

As their wild habitat is lost and more storks nest in German towns, they may bring more attacks on cars as well as the promised good luck.

[white stork photo by Manfred Heyde via Wikimedia]