Andriana Ponomarenko was the first to post a photo of a big bird flegmatically strolling among cars outside a busy hypermarket. People were instantly alarmed: a stork will not approach people for no reason, the bird must be sick and probably needs help. But the administration of the mall reassured the public: the stork Vasia, a permanent resident of the nature observation post just a couple of hundred meters further away, often comes here to get treats from the staff.
Oleksandr Herevych, director at the Zakarpattia Environment and Nature Center (ZENC), confirmed that the bird is under their care. He told The Day that Vasia is about two years old, and the past year he has been living at the Center. “We often hear that our stork has been sighted in the city. He is wearing a ring and spent the winter here, at the territory of the Center, where we made a nest for him. He got used to people, especially children. Of course we worry that someone might hurt him. Now he is absolutely free and enjoys flying around,” says Herevych. The staff of the center hope that the young bird will soon find a mate.
Vasia seeks human company because he grew up next to humans at the ZENC, says ornithologist Oksana Stankevych-Volosianchuk. “White storks adapt easily to humans. They have long become our inseparable companions. This particular bird seeks communication with people as he grew up in human company instead of his kin. The budding environmentalists must have found a young wounded bird, or something like this. I remember how seven years ago my friends from Khust raion sent me a young wounded black stork. I brought him to Lviv to an ornithologist who cares for vulnerable animals and birds at his place,” told Stankevych-Volosianchuk to The Day.
Ornithologists advise to feed a stork with fish, fresh or frozen (previously thawed). Small fry can be bought at any supermarket, it is cheap enough. But you should never feed storks with smoked or salted fish. Now this particular bird trusts humans, so we must not fail him.