Thrigby Hall nesting storks may end 600-year wait

White storks often nest close to humans but normally in warmer climes

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A pair of white storks nesting in Norfolk could be the first in the UK to breed from a traditional nest for nearly 600 years.

The birds are nesting on a chimney at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens near Great Yarmouth and are involved in mating rituals, experts say.

The white stork breeds in continental Europe, migrating to Africa in winter.

The last record of storks breeding in Britain was at St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, in 1416.

Stork facts

  • The white stork is a large white bird with black wings and red legs and beak
  • They breed anywhere from North Africa up through Europe and into Asia
  • They have a large wing span of up to 7ft (2m) in length
  • They nest close to human habitation - chimneys, rooftops or telegraph pole
  • They are known throughout the world as a symbol of fertility

Source: RSPB

Ken Sims, director of the wildlife gardens said: "We gave the storks a helping hand by building a structure for their nest on the hall's front chimney.

"But they turned their back on our handiwork and have built their own nest on one of the rear stacks."

He said he thought the female stork was on the point of laying and they had been watching them mate.

"The beaks are used like clappers and they throw their heads back," he said.

"They greet each other with lots of clicking and clacking."

The nesting birds are part of the collection at the wildlife gardens and director Ken Sims said they had been trying to get storks to nest for many years.

"We've kept them for a number of years but they have been pinion birds [flight feathers on one wing have been removed} and have occasionally bred on the ground.

"But to have them free-flying and nesting as they would do in the wild is very rare."

Flying stork Mr Sims said they would be keeping a close eye on the storks

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