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Wildlife sat-nav goes awry as White Stork and Flamingo defy nature and fly to Siberia in winter

By The Siberian Times reporter
11 November 2019

Frantic efforts to save the wrong-turn birds from harsh cold.

Young flamingo rescued in Yakutia, Russia's coldest region. Picture: Yakutia 24 TV

Siberian ornithologist and bird-watcher Alexey Ebel revealed the presence of a White Stork far off-course, 59 kilometres south of Barnaul.

The bird was probably hoping for Africa but flew instead to steppe close to the foothills of the Altai Mountains in Siberia.

Migration routes of the White Stork do not cross Siberia and the nearest populations are close to Shymkent in Kazakhstan, some 2,000 km away, and in Belarus, almost double the distance.

As Alexey says, maybe its compass was broken.

There are now fears for its life. 

‘Our main task is to catch the bird, but it is not so easy,’ he explained. ‘It doesn't let us approach closer than 10 metres.’

As winter approaches ‘the stork has no chance to survive in the wild here - unless we can catch the bird’, Alexey explained.

Wildlife sat-nav goes awry as White Stork and Flamingo defy nature and fly to Siberia in winter


Wildlife sat-nav goes awry as White Stork and Flamingo defy nature and fly to Siberia in winter


Wildlife sat-nav goes awry as White Stork and Flamingo defy nature and fly to Siberia in winter
Migration routes of the White Stork do not cross Siberia and the nearest populations are close to Shymkent in Kazakhstan, some 2,000 km away, and in Belarus, almost double the distance. Pictures: Vladimir Maer


The stork possibly arrived when the weather was much better, during the summer, and it continues to feed well on small fish ‘which it deftly catches in the river’.

‘It is still peppy, it flies well,’ said another ornithologist seeking to rescue to lost bird, Vladimir Maleev .

Another wayward feathered friend is a young flamingo that descended from the skies on 10 November in Yakutia - the world’s coldest region. 

No flamingo has been seen here in 30 years. 

The local Ministry of Ecology is deciding what action to take with one option to send it to the Orto Doydu zoo in Yakutsk.

But what was it doing in Siberia instead of Saudi Arabia?

Wildlife sat-nav goes awry as White Stork and Flamingo defy nature and fly to Siberia in winter

Wildlife sat-nav goes awry as White Stork and Flamingo defy nature and fly to Siberia in winter


Wildlife sat-nav goes awry as White Stork and Flamingo defy nature and fly to Siberia in winter
Flamingo in Yakutia, Russia's coldest region. Pictures: Yakutia24


Ornithologist of the Institute of Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone, Evgeny Shemyakin, said: ‘Flamingos fly to us, like many other birds, by chance. 

‘After all, it happens that people get lost in the woods, and the same  with  birds - they stray from the flock.’

In this case a storm may have carried the unfortunate bird in the wrong direction. 

Wildlife sat-nav goes awry as White Stork and Flamingo defy nature and fly to Siberia in winter

Arent's you cold? A confused flamingo went off course and ended up in Yakutia. Picture: Yakutia 24


Alexey Ebel thinks we may hear about such cases more nowadays thanks to social media. 

‘It’s hard to say if the cases when rare birds came to Siberia became more common,’ he said.

‘The means of communications now got well developed and we learn about such cases more often. 

‘Say, 20 years ago, we would not know about the resent case of flamingo in Yakutia. 

‘Now Internet and social media has made it possible. ‘But the fact is, too, that storms became more frequent and more powerful.

‘And this potentially can bring here more birds than previously. 

‘But we lack the exact data from previous years to compare.'

Comments (1)

Wonderfull ! Thank you ! This is a good example . Wild life must be protected .
nick cohen , Vancouver Canada
25/11/2019 12:02
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