Wild storks desperate for some warmth found shelter in the homes of strangers when the kind-hearted people opened their homes to them.
The birds migrate to Bulgaria in the Spring but the prolonged winter weather has caught them off guard and left many stranded and freezing to death. It has been extremely cold in the country recently and the winter cold has frozen the birds’ wings, preventing them from flying away and finding appropriate shelter.
Safet Halil, 53, decided to help several of the immobilized birds by bringing them indoors.
“I found five frozen storks near the village road the day before yesterday,” Halil, a resident of Zaritsa, Bulgaria, said in a news report. “I took them home, lit a stove to warm them and fed them fish.”
Word spread of Halil’s compassionate actions and soon other residents were welcoming storks into their homes.
One video shared shows a man pulling chunks of ice from a stork’s wings. The stork, and the other storks by the stove, don’t seem to mind the family’s presence, no doubt instinctively knowing their survival depends on getting warm.
News outlets said that more than 40 birds have been given shelter throughout the country.
In one photo, storks have taken over an old bed.
Others are huddled by stoves, grateful for the warmth.
Hristina Klisurova, a spokesperson from the Green Balkans Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Center, said that the storks have been hard hit by the cold snap, but she cautioned not to try and catch the birds as that would only distress them further. Rather she suggested people wait. The birds that are most desperate will approach humans for help.
“It’s the first time that we have seen so many storks in distress in Bulgaria,” Klisurova told AFP. However, she cautioned people to only take in “those who are in a state of distress, injured or with frozen wings,” and to release any rescued birds back into the wild as soon as possible.
The conservation group has been venturing out to storks to give them food and treat any injuries they may have.
Halil plans on keeping his five birds indoors for a little bit longer given the temperatures dropped below zero to minus 3 degrees Celsius (27 Fahrenheit).
Facebook/Спасителен център за диви животни
His houseguests seem to not mind staying and have rewarded his generosity with a few beak pinches on the arm.