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#15 Oriental Stork


These are pretty large birds. They can be very close to 5 feet tall. They also have a wingspan of over 7 feet wide. They had been extirpated (locally extinct) from Japan for about 40 years. Then, in 2007 a chick was hatched in the wild by captive bred parents. Along with the captive bred ones in Japan, they are still in Siberia and maybe a small area of China, but have been extirpated from Korea it seems. They have many threats they face. Not only are they hunted, but also collected for zoos and such. They are facing habitat loss due to dams, wetlands being drained, and rice fields. They seem to be quite susceptible to the pesticides used in rice farming. There are conservation efforts in place, which sometimes I feel is just so rare anymore with the animals I paint and draw. There is an attempt to educate the locals, to get rice farmers to grow their crops organically, to at least monitor how many are illegally collected, and more. Hopefully these beautiful birds will be able to make a big comeback.

It is a bit weird to me to think of a bird being almost 5 feet tall. My dad's mother was not even 5 feet tall. We called her "Little Grandma", but her kids called her "Butch" because she was so tough and really rather mean to her kids, though not to me that I remember. I didn't get to know her well. I only have one memory of her. I was maybe 3 years old is all. This isn't my earliest memory, but close to it. I was eating cereal and was chasing around the pieces of cereal up the wall of the bowl, and having to push them onto my spoon with my fingers or just grab it with my fingers. She showed me that you could take your spoon and push the cereal pieces back into the milk, which made it easier to catch them. It seems silly as an adult to think that you needed someone to show you that, but it seemed so clever to me at the time. Sort of taught me that you don't have to always chase after something directly, sometimes you need to stop, think, and then come at a problem from a different angle.

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