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Portugal’s white storks fill up on landfill waste

A white stork flies to his nest. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

Portugal’s white storks fill up on landfill waste

Portugal’s white storks have been forgoing seasonal migration to Africa as they increasingly rely on landfills for nesting and food.

There are now thought to be more than 14,000 birds in Portugal in winter – a tenfold increase over the past 20 years.

Their increase has coincided with a growing number of landfill sites in the area, providing the birds with a ready supply of rubbish to dine on, including junk food.

[caption id="attachment_848543" align="alignnone" width="635"]White storks stand in a field. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen White storks stand in a field. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen[/caption]


According to research published in the journal Movement Ecology the continuous availability of food in landfill has seen storks nest year-round at the facilities influencing their home ranges and movement behaviour.

The team monitored 48 storks using GPS technology – monitoring their location five times a day as well as how fast they flew.

The birds also established more colonies next to landfill sites  – an estimated 80 per cent of Iberia’s white storks were spending most of their time by landfills.

The storks have been known to eat almost anything including plastic such as old computer parts.

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