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    Early Arrival of Storks Signals Spring’s Approach in Poland

    As a precursor to spring, storks have already started their journey to Poland, anticipated to land much earlier than in past years. Yet, the possibility of a sudden winter resurgence might postpone their arrival. Experts observing their migration are confident they will soon reach.

    Polish scientists have outfitted several storks with GPS devices, allowing for precise tracking of these birds that have their nesting grounds in Poland. After spending the winter months in the wetlands of Africa’s central, southern, and eastern parts, these storks have initiated their migration northward. In the weeks ahead, more storks will begin their arduous trek back to Poland.

    Their route will take them over Sudan and Egypt before crossing the eastern Mediterranean region, flying over areas like the Gaza Strip, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and finally Turkey, aiming to be in the Balkans by the start of March.

    By mid-March, the forefront of the African storks is expected to breach Polish airspace, shortly after those that wintered in the southern parts of Europe, which start their journey back in the early days of March. Weather anomalies, especially cold spells and snowfall, could impede their timely arrival.

    Notably, storks’ migration patterns do not strictly adhere to weather forecasts and instead, they adjust on the fly. This adaptability is evident when they sometimes arrive prematurely and have to establish nests in snowy conditions.

    For instance, last year saw them reaching Poland about two weeks later than usual. However, the regular precipitation and mild temperatures provided plentiful food sources, enabling them to quickly rear their young and leave sooner than anticipated.

    The Perilous Trek to Poland

    To gain the elevation needed for their journey, storks rely on thermal updrafts that form under warm conditions, leading to the creation of cumulus clouds. This type of weather is currently prevalent over Africa.

    Storks need to be wary of entering thunderstorm clouds, as the intense turbulence within could cause significant harm or even be fatal. This phenomenon is akin to how gliders soar, utilizing warm air in thermal updrafts to gain altitude.

    Traveling at heights ranging from 1 to 1.5 kilometers above the ground, and moving at speeds between 50-70 kilometers per hour, storks can cover about 150-200 kilometers daily. Their journey spans several thousand kilometers to reach their destination in Poland.

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