Thugs killed several nesting white storks near the Central Estonian town of Türi over the weekend, regional daily Järva Teataja reports.
A total of seven white storks, summer visitors to Estonia, were killed across the same number of nests along Türi-Väätsa tee in Järva County, and in the vicinity of nearby Änari, Järva Teataja reports (link in Estonian), with three of the dead birds apparently having been shot, and the cause of death the subject of an investigation in the case of the other four.
Since the sickening attack happened during breeding season, close to a dozen eggs found in several of the nests will now not hatch, the paper reported.
Evidence suggested that the killings, discovered by local residents Sunday morning, had taken place on Saturday night or in the small hours of Sunday, Järva teataja reported, given that the wounds in those birds which had been shot had not yet clotted, while one of the nests had already been taken over by a new pair of storks, who had ejected the eggs laid by their deceased predecessors.
Virge Võsujalg, Estonian Wildlife Center (Eesti metsloomaühing) board member, urges members of the public who happen on similar scenes to notify either her organization, the Environmental Board (Keskonnaamet) or the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) as soon as possible.
The original Järva teataja piece (in Estonian, reader discretion advised) is here.
Järva teataja is part of the Postimees Group.
White storks are familiar summer visitors to central and eastern Europe and are well-known for frequently building their nests high-up on man-made structures; Estonia is their northernmost breeding range – the species are not found in Finland at any time of the year. They generally spend their winters in sub-Saharan Africa.
The much rarer and more reclusive black stork can also be found in Estonia, where it is a protected species.
Editor: Andrew Whyte