Many years ago, trains flew past the village of Surenavan at high speed. Passengers looked out of the windows of the carriages with their heads up. They wanted to have time to see the main local attraction – the nests of storks. Now times have changed, and groups of tourists come here specifically to watch storks. The people of Surenavan never thought that people from distant lands would come here on purpose to see these beautiful birds up close. The most common species nests in Armenia – white storks.
Almost the whole Surenavan is dotted with nests. Storks twist them on high poles. The nests are very strong, they are made from thick branches. And the size of the stork houses is so large that in addition to the chicks, each of them accommodates a dozen more sparrows, which flock for the remnants of food.
Storks are very beautiful and graceful in flight. Well, the combination of white, black and red always looks great. Stork nests last for several years. Sometimes children occupy the parental nest.
For Armenians, the stork is not just a part of the native fauna. Since it is a migratory bird, it has become a symbol of the homeland for those who were forced to leave their home. It is no coincidence that the famous rock singer and composer Serj Tankian often performs the song “Good Stork” at concerts. And his fans love a simple video, shot, it seems, on a phone, in which the singer sings about a stork with his father. This is very symbolic – the connection with the motherland, the connection of generations. Having met a stork in Europe or in Asia, somewhere far from his homeland, the Armenian mentally asked him to say hello to his native land.
Surenavan is not the only place in Armenia where you can meet storks. It’s just that this village has become famous. Storks live next to a man – that’s how they got it. In Surenavan, the streets are straight, even, everything looks very geometric. It seems that storks live here on the top floor, it’s just transparent, and we can see everything from the ground.
The storks stand in their nests like soldiers. Sometimes one of them goes in search of food. If you’re lucky, you can see a stork taking off from close range – this is a very beautiful sight. The stork seems to be dancing in the air. This beautiful bird is a predator, and in his case, going for food means hunting. He catches small rodents, fish, toads, vipers. Fortunately, there have never been interruptions with snakes in Armenia.
In pre-Christian times, the stork was considered a sacred bird, with the help of which the gods communicated their will to people. People believed that the gods could take the form of a stork in order to get closer to them, so storks were never touched.
Some families of storks have stopped flying from Surenavan for the winter: the warm climate allows them to provide a comfortable wintering. This is how severe Surenavan stands with its geometrically regular streets and beautiful decoration – magical birds, which the gods send to people to make them kinder.
We will definitely select a tour to Armenia for you, where you can watch these very beautiful birds.
photo: David Hakobyan, Andranik Keshishyan, Samvel Sevada