Friendship between way-worn stork and fisherman celebrates its 10th anniversary
The story of a unique friendship between a fisherman and a stork is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.
For the past 10 years, Adem Yılmaz, 68, meets up with a white stork in a village called Eskikaraağaç in Turkey’s northwestern province of Bursa’s Karacabey district.
Yılmaz and the stork’s friendship started when the fowl perched on Yılmaz’s fishing boat at Lake Uluabat and was fed by him. Since that day the white stork became a regular on the boat every morning during the half-year she spends in Turkey.
The last visit of the stork named Yaren, which settles on Yılmaz’s boat every time she migrates, was welcomed by the residents of Eskikaraağaç, known locally as “the village of storks” and which in 2011 joined the European Stork Villages Network.
Having arrived three days late compared to the previous years, way-worn Yaren landed on the boat of the fisherman early on March 7 and ate her first fish. Those moments were captured by Alper Tüydeş, a well-known nature photographer.
Tüydeş, who took the first photos of Yılmaz and Yaren and revealed their story, also worked with documentary film-maker Burak Doğansoysal to film the heartwarming story. The documentary was named the best documentary at the Prague Film Awards held in Czechia.
Speaking to Demirören News Agency, Tüydeş underlined that they waited the stork in anxiety this year due to Yaren’s advancing age.
“Our eyes were always in the air as storks came to neighboring villages. In this process, we waited anxiously with Adem Yılmaz,” Tüydeş noted.
“I was hesitant about whether she was going to come. Thank God she came to the village yesterday and to my boat today. I am so happy,” Yılmaz said, adding that he considers the stork no different from his children.
“I have three children, and Yaren is the fourth. We have longed for Yaren this year. I am very peaceful and happy,” Yılmaz noted.
The storks start to arrive in the beginning of spring and build their nests on the roofs of houses and the tops of poles in Eskikarağaç.
Nearly 500 storks, who spend the warm seasons with their young fledglings in more than 100 nests around the lake monitored by Karacabey Municipality, start to migrate to warmer regions at the end of the summer.
Meanwhile, the local municipality launched a website named yarenleylek.com to watch the nest where Yaren and her partner are located on 24/7 live broadcast online.
Karacabey Mayor Ali Özkan stated that he welcomed the stork’s 10th year visit with pleasure.
Noting that the six-month longing is over, Özkan said that a digital chip could not be attached to Yaren because she was an adult, but that it would be attached to her offspring.