Nature can be a beautiful and awe-inspiring thing. However, sometimes it can seem quite cruel, even when it’s working out for the greater good. Such is the case with one stork family – when an adult stork chucked a chick out of its nest.
It’s a moment of nature choosing to root for the survival of the many over the survival of some. It may seem terrifyingly heartbreaking. But, for an adult stork, it’s a way to preserve the health of the older chicks. And, it’s a move done to increase the chances the surviving four chicks will survive.
As the video starts we see an adult stork and four chicks sitting on a nest. However, the camera soon pans in closer to the chicks…and it is there we see that there is one more chick. This one is much younger than its brothers and sisters. Sitting snuggled close to one of its older siblings is a little grey baby stork – no more than a few days – or even a few hours old. And soon, the adult stork takes notice of the young chick.
When There Are Too Many Mouths To Feed, Nature Has A Swift – But Seemingly Cruel Resolution
As the four older chicks surround the adult stork, looking hungry and ready for food, the adult stork picks the smallest youngling up with its beak. The youngling struggles in the grasp, and eventually breaks free, falling back into the nest.
Again, the adult picks the tiny chick up as the young stork struggles and chirps. The adult tosses the young bird to the side. Still inside the nest, but hanging onto the edge, the youngling struggles back towards its siblings. However, soon the adult stork would scoop the youngling back up into its beak…one final time. Pushed out of the nest, the camera shows the young bird it slowly stops moving. It’s a heartbreaking scene, sure. But, it’s one experts say happens often. And one that serves a practical purpose.
The Surprise Baby Stork Ended Up Being One Too Many Mouths To Feed
According to experts, even a brood of four stork chicks is bigger than normal. So, when one late-blooming youngling was added to the mix, it sent everything dangerously off-kilter for the other chicks within the stork nest.
According to a three-year study on this phenomenon, storks often make this decision for one practical reason…to make sure there is enough food to go around for the healthiest of the bunch. When the youngest chick made a surprise appearance after four successful hatchlings were already in the nest, the adult stork did some quick stork-like math. The conclusion was that with this fifth chick to feed, there likely wouldn’t be enough food to go around.
The adult stork faced a tough decision – let all of the chicks risk starvation because food is stretched too thin, or decrease the number of mouths that need to be fed. Now, most bird species don’t make this tough decision themselves. Most adult birds let the younglings decide. The chicks fight for food at feeding time, and if one doesn’t get the sustenance it needs, it succumbs to starvation. However, stork chicks lack this kind of aggression. So, it’s up to the adult storks to take care of the issue themselves.