It's coming up on Valentine's weekend, so here's a theme-related blog.
Storks are monogamous but do not mate for life.
The white stork is a large bird. It has a length of 100–115 cm (39–45 in), and a standing height of 100–125 cm (39–49 in). It's wingspan is 155–215 cm (61–85 in) and it weighs about 2.3–4.5 kg (5.1–9.9 lb). (*1)
White storks normally fly south from their summer breeding grounds in Europe in August and September and spend the winter in the African savannah in Kenya and Uganda and extending to Cape Province in South Africa. (*1)
Storks live in colonies in wetlands and the younger couples have to live on the "outskirts". That made it possible for me to get this close up shot with just a 200mm lens taken from the path on top of the dike. Storks carnivorous eating reptiles, small mammals, insects, fish, and amphibians.
This season several stork couples did not migrate away from Germany. I hope they survive the -10 degree C cold nights we have been having and will continue to have the next weeks.
You can also refer to my 2019 blog for more about storks in Germany.
Swans, on the other hand, mate for life, and typically bond even before they reach sexual maturity. (*2)
Swans are larger than storks and can reach a length of over 1.5 m (59 in) and weigh over 15 kg (33 lb). Their wingspans can be over 3.1 m (10 ft). Swan's nests are on the ground near water and about a meter across. (*2)
Swans are primarily herbivorous but sometimes eat small aquatic creatures.
Both white storks and white swans are protected by international, EU and German laws. These birds cannot be captured, killed or sold. Their habitats are protected as nature reserves. This means, for example, people must walk their dogs on a leash and stay on defined paths in those areas.
Because of the protection measures taken starting in the 1970's their populations have been restored and they do not have "endangered" status anymore.
The two photos were taken approximately one kilometer apart along the Rhine River in Germany.