BURSA - Anadolu Agency
Turkey’s only stork festival, organized for the 13th time, ended on July 9 after providing entertainment and education to many visitors and guests.
The two-day birding festival, which took place in the Eskikaraağaç neighborhood of the Karacabey district in the northwestern province of Bursa, featured a torchlight procession, bicycle and boat tours, magic shows, folk dances and live concerts, along with stork viewing.
From the observation tower, visitors could view storks’ lives in the nest platforms on top of electric poles.
“We would like to raise consciousness of nature with these kinds of events,” Karacabey District Mayor Ali Özkan told state-run Anadolu Agency.
Known as “the mother of the storks,” Franziska Arıcı has been involved in projects since 2003 to promote stork-friendly villages around Lake Uluabat.
Arıcı said the main purpose of the projects is to reduce the deaths of storks and provide a better life for them.
The Eskikaraağaç neighborhood is known as “the village of storks” and was included in the European Stork Villages Network in 2011.
EuroNatur awarded the title of the 11th European stork village to the neighborhood in the same year in a bid to motivate villagers to protect the white stork and the cultural landscape of Lake Uluabat, well known for its rich biodiversity.
The European Stork Villages Network has 15 representatives, including Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece
and Poland. Turkey is the only non-EU nation represented.
A retired professor from Biosystems Engineering, İsmet Arıcı and his wife, Franziska, coordinate with Turkey’s electricity authorities to set up stork-friendly electric poles around the country to prevent birds from being electrocuted, they told Anadolu Agency.
High school art teacher Selda Kapar, who had an exhibition that depicted white storks at the neighborhood market, said she loved the aesthetic style and colors of the storks, which is what drives her to paint them.
At high season, the clattering sounds of storks can be heard in the village every few minutes, with storks regularly taking off or landing.
“The Uluabatlı Lake region is an important destination, with its ecosystem, for white storks migrating to Europe,” said photographer Alper Tüydeş, who also serves as a press agent in the Karacabey district.
“During the migration session, tens of thousands of storks pass through the region. Young storks especially occupy [the region], while some of them even stay in the winter,” Tüydeş added.