TURKEY

Turkey’s only ‘stork festival’ ends in Bursa

TURKEY’S ONLY ‘STORK FESTIVAL’ ENDS IN BURSA

Turkey's only stork festival ended Sunday and provided a lot of entertainment and educational opportunities for visitors and guest.

The thirteenth edition of the two-day birding festival in the Eskikaraagac neighborhood of Karacabey district in the northwest 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 at the top of electric poles.

"By these kinds of events we would like to raise the awareness of nature consciousness," district Mayor Ali Ozkan told Anadolu Agency.

Known as a "the mother of stork", Franziska Arici, has been involved in projects since 2003. to promote stork-friendly villages around Lake Uluabat.

Arici told the agency the main purpose of the projects is to reduce the deaths of storks and provide better living for them.

The Eskikaraagac neighborhood is known as "the village of storks" -- included in the European Stork Villages Network in 2011.

EuroNatur awarded the title of 11th European stork village to Eskikaraagac that year 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, Bulgarua, Germany, Greece, and Poland. Turkey is the only non-EU nation represented.

A retired professor from Biosystems Engineering, İsmet Arici 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 killed by high voltage, the couple told Anadolu Agency.

And High school art teacher Selda Kapar, who had an exhibition that depicted white storks at the neighborhood market, said she is impressed by the esthetics style and colors of storks, which drives her to paint them.

During the season, the clattering sounds of storks can be heard in the village every few minutes and every few moments storks take off or land.

"The Uluabatlı Lake region is the important destination, with its ecosystem, for white storks migrating to Europe," according to photographer Alper Tuydes who also serves as a press agent the Karacabey district,

"During the migration session, tens of thousands of storks are passing by the region. Especially young storks occupy while some of them stay even in winter," he said.

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