Storks back in Sicily after centuries away

July 20, 2012 at 5:01 PM

PALERMO, Sicily, July 20 (UPI) -- A record 70 mating pairs of storks are nesting in Sicily just two decades since the return of the migrating bird after a 500-year absence, conservationists say.

The bird-protection group LIPU-BirdLife Italia said nesting spots for the birds, which returned to the island for the first time 20 years ago, have been identified in the provinces of Siracusa, Agrigento, Trapani and Palermo, Italy's ANSA news agency reported Thursday.

Artificial nests were successful in first luring the storks to Sicily on their migratory path from North Africa, LIPU-BirdLife Italia said.

Before their return to Sicily it had been 500 years since the long-legged birds were spotted in that region of the Mediterranean, the group said.

Although the artificial nests still exist most of the birds have taken to nesting in and among the medium-tension power lines of the Italian energy provider Enel, the group reported.

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