Of storks and snails

A flock of forty or so Openbill storks treated Flightpathproject to a fly-by this morning…

Why Openbill? This is why:

asian-openbill-stork web

Openbill stork with nutcracker beak

Image: blogs.crikey.com.au/northern/files/2008/09/asian-openbill-stork.jpg

Stork colonies of Pathum Thani:

Identifying the enemy:

manandmollusc.net web
Image: http://www.manandmollusc.net

‘The golden apple snail was introduced from Florida and Latin America…in the early 1980s by private snail farmers hoping to reap big profits exporting snails to Europe. Easy to rear and fast breeding, the snail’s high protein content also apparently made it an ideal supplement to the low-protein diet of the rural poor. Unfortunately, the snails were not a success with consumers, and although they were initially expensive, their market value soon plummeted.

The escaped and discarded snails quickly spread through waterways and irrigation canals [and across borders]. When they reached the rice fields they found an ideal habitat, feeding by night and at dawn on young succulent plants such as newly transplanted rice crops and weeds. With only a few natural enemies to constrain them, the snails rapidly developed into a serious pest in many areas of cultivated rice land in Asia. Their fast growth and reproduction – females lay egg masses of up to 500 eggs once a week – leads to population levels that can destroy entire rice crops.’

golden snail phils webGolden Apple Snail with eggs

More info: http://www.fao.org/News/1998/rifili-e.htm Image:
http://www.darfu4b.da.gov.ph/goldenkuhol_rice.html

Dealing with the enemy:

Stork shelling snails. Image: nbirds.blogspot.com

Stork snapping-up snails.
Image: nbirds.blogspot.com

Welcome, O truant stork!
And where have you been so long?
And do you bring that grace of spring
That filleth my heart with song?

From Armenian Folk Song – The Stork by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

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