Bringing happiness? Stork observed in Nakijin

Bringing happiness? Stork observed in Nakijin

A special national treasure, a stork, seen in Nakijin Village on December 14 around 10 a.m. (Photograph provided by Yutaka Toguchi.)

December 16, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

A stork was observed in Nakijin village on December 14. The bird is known as a special national treasure. According to a 53-year-old manager of the Yagaji national game reserve, Yutaka Toguchi, it is not common to see the species on Okinawa Island although the species was once recorded to have visited Ie Island in 2004.

The stork was about one-meter tall, and it was observed taking a rest while pecking around for food in a grass field around a residential area.

It is thought the bird flew from its usual habitat in northeastern China in order to pass the winter. As the bird did not have a leg ring attached, Toguchi thinks it was not from Hyogo Prefecture where storks are artificially bred and released.

In general, storks are known as solitary animals. Toguchi further commented, “Okinawa is not a general wintering spot, so perhaps the bird got lost on its way to southern China and arrived here. The species is occasionally witnessed in Okinawa but it’s rare to have their visits recorded.”

The bird might have sensed people approaching as it was not seen at the same spot on December 15.

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma) 

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