There is a stork in Croatia that has been unable to migrate for the winter for the past sixteen years, yet every year the same male stork has returned to her for the summer season. As you can imagine the media have made much of this ‘lovestruck’ couple, but the reality unfortunately is that it will probably be the nest he is returning to each year rather than his injured companion. She just happens to be there!
White storks do form monogamous pairs for the duration of the breeding season, but the research has found that even when not injured they do not migrate or over-winter together. The birds do however show complete faithfulness to their large nests once they have created one that proves a successful site for breeding. They will return to it every year. If however one of the birds does not return quick enough from their winter haunts to the breeding nest in the spring then the one that did return will find a new companion. So perhaps for the Croatian couple it is more of a case of location, location, location! I cannot possibly comment however for these Portuguese storks in my photographs as they don’t seem to migrate. Perhaps they are the ultimate companions.