Friday, May 29, 2009


Storks are an interesting animal. According to George Ferguson’s book, “Signs and Symbols in Christian Art” they symbolize prudence, vigilance, piety, and chastity, but it does not say why. Why this particular bird (perhaps because of its stateliness and call) is picked out to be the announcer of spring among all the birds is also a mystery to me. But because it is the announcer of spring and new life it also is associated with the Annunciation and the coming of Christ and thus, Ferguson surmises might be the origin of fable of the stork bringing babies to new mothers and fathers.

This may or may not be the case as there was recently a story on the radio that explained that storks used to roost in the straw roofing of people’s homes. More babies meant more homes meant more storks meant the association of each. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle.


Anonymous said...

I was the product of a difficult birth in 1951. When I was a child, my mother used to say that the doctor had to go and pull the stork's legs out of the mud. I was so focused on the imagery that it never occurred to me to ask from where the stork got me in the first place.

Melody said...

I was told that the stork is a symbol of Christ because a mother stork with hungry babies will plunge her beak into her own heart in order to nourish them. I don't know if mother storks actually do that, but what an amazing allegory!

Anonymous said...

It's actually the pelican that is reported to do that. But (and maybe what I am about to say is part of spoil-sport liberalism), I remember hearing that the mother pelican doesn't really do that. She is burrowing her beak into her breast feathers to get bugs!