“White storks used to be wholly migratory. Before the 1980s, there were no white storks staying in” Spain and Portugal, says study leader Aldina Franco, a conservation ecologist at the University of East Anglia in the U.K.
Portugal’s resident stork population has grown from just 1,187 birds in 1995 to some 14,000, Franco says. And 80 percent of storks that winter in the region congregate near landfills.
“We think these landfill sites facilitated the storks staying in their breeding sites all year because they now have a fantastic, reliable food source all year round.”
photo: John Cancalosi, National Geographic