Storks are ubiquitous in this part of the country. Pass through any village or small town in western Hungary and you are bound to see a stork nest perched upon a telephone poll or a chimney. Some settlements have have as many as four or five stork nests. They are an integral part of the rural scenery in this part of the world, and their presence is viewed as a sign of good fortune. When I purchased my home in Fertőendréd, I assumed the village had a stork nest somewhere, but I had no luck spotting it during my first walks around the village. I eventually asked some of my neighbors about it and was quickly informed that the storks had left a decade before and had not come back.
Like many other villages in this area, Fertőendréd had storks for as long as people could remember. The nest had been on the high chimney of the old manor located next to the village priory. Sadly, one day the chimney collapsed under the weight of the nest. The nest, and the eggs it contained, crashed to the ground below. The stork couple flew away and never returned.
Thus, for the past ten years, Fertőendréd has been one of the only villages in this area without storks. Shortly after I moved here, the mayor and the village council voted in favor of attempting to lure a stork family back to the settlement and had a large iron ring resembling a wagon wheel placed atop on of the telephone poles lining Main Street.
"Well, on the bright side, having no storks makes us unique," one of my neighbor's muttered to me one day as we passed under the empty stand.
This spring the storks returned, but Fertőendréd residents, yours truly among them, did not notice them until they had nearly completed their nest atop the iron ring. Needless to say, everyone in the village is quite pleased with this development, particularly the mayor and the village council who had been on the receiving end of some fairly imaginative barbs and criticisms for their funding of the stork nest stand three years prior.
I view the return of storks to this village as a good omen, both for me and for the settlement as a whole. Here's hoping the storks have a good summer and return next spring. And here's hoping they bring some fresh good luck with them every time they return from wintering in Africa.