The Unbelievable War of the Storks and Eagles

In 1934, the western regions of Turkey, especially Bursa and Aydın, witnessed an unbelievable war between storks and eagles that lasted for weeks.

At the beginning of the summer of 1934, some cities in the Marmara and Aegean regions, especially Bursa and Aydın, witnessed a rare aerial war. What makes this battle different from others as it was not between the people but the storks and eagles.

The Cause of Stork – Eagle War

According to the newspaper reports of the time and the information obtained from the people who remember the event, the beginning and course of the legendary battle of the storks and eagles were as follows: 6 eagles which are estimated to have descended from the Uludag summits attacked a stork nest in Bursa Orhangazi district in an afternoon in Marmara. The eagles slaughtered the mother and father storks right there and took 4 baby storks in their talons and take them away to probably feed their own babies.

A few days after this event, which seemed like an ordinary event in nature, it was observed that a group of eagles attacked another stork nest in Orhangazi. However, this time the nest, which eagles came to attack was empty. It was like storks had already received the intelligence of this attack and hid their babies in a safe place.

Later on, similar incidents started to happen in different parts of the city. Eagles were attacking stork nests in groups. A few days later, hundreds of storks flocked to Bursa and Aydın from all over the country. Similarly, the eagles were gathering too. People were aware that the number of storks and eagles around them had increased extremely. There was an unordinary action in the sky.

The Stork – Eagle War Breaks Out

The gathering of storks and eagles in the area took about two months. In August, an unbelievable war broke out in the Menderes Delta of Aydın City. There was a fierce battle going on in the sky. Storks were on one side and eagles were on the other. The people were watching the war going over on their heads. Eagles were trying to hurt the storks with their talons while storks were trying the same with their long peaks.

People, who were watching this unique battle from below with amazement were supporting the storks. The areas in question were the leading parts of agricultural production in Turkey at those times. Today, although these cities are known for many industrial and tourism sectors, they still try to maintain their agricultural product at optimum levels. On the other hand, as it is known, storks are the natural allies of farmers since they are quite effective in fighting against pests that infest the fields such as snakes, mice, and even moles.

Therefore, it was quite natural for locals to do their best to support the storks in the battle. According to what is told, villagers were trying to treat the injured storks, which fell to the ground. The grandmothers were praying over the injured storks. There were people, who even called Kızılay (the equivalent of the Red Cross operating in Turkey, the literal English translation is Red Moon). Some were climbing to stork nests to provide food for the baby storks. There were even people who wanted the army to intervene in this battle.

Smart Battle Strategies of Storks

Despite days passed, the war continued. Both parties were losing their soldiers. What was more interesting was more storks and eagles were coming in flocks from different parts of the country. Everyone was asking each other: “Who will win this war?” The eagles were strong but storks were outnumbered. Moreover, they were more organized. Young storks were tiring the ages and the experienced elderly storks were dealing the death blow to exhausted eagles. Also, storks were fighting close to settlement areas due to the aid provided by humans. They did not let the eagles take the war to the forested and mountainous areas.

The Winner of the War is Storks

What you have read a second ago is not fiction, story, or made-up news for entertainment. It is a strange but true event that really happened. This is a battle that many people witness in 1934 and was reported in many Turkish newspapers, including Cumhuriyet, the oldest newspaper in Turkey. It was even told that the report of the New York Times newspaper, which was in Turkey in those years, wrote about it in the United States too.

In The Times newspaper dated August 18, 1934, the news of the Times Istanbul reporter was quoted as follows, “An extraordinary battle between 300 storks and 600 eagles. Being able to count the numbers of them was a good job. The battlefield is a place called Orhangazi, a district near Bursa City. The hostility began when 6 eagles attacked a stork’s nest. They killed the mother and parent stork and took the baby storks. A few days later, they came back for another nest with the same deed but the nest was empty. All babies were moved to a safe place before the event and mother and father birds were flying.

Meanwhile, the stork group started a movement. Storks from all around the country began to gather. After reaching the required numbers, they kept all the baby storks behind a powerful defense line and started to search for eagles. There are no reports of how eagles observed this incident and how they gathered but a long-lasting battle broke out. In the end, the victory belonged to the storks at the cost of 12 dead and 50 injured. It was reported that eagles also had 20 dead.”

Newspaper News About The Stork – Eagle War

Some press clippings about the battle of storks and eagles…

The Unbelievable War of the Storks and Eagles
The Unbelievable War of the Storks and Eagles

The 2nd Stork – Eagle Battle in Aydın Skies in 1959

Another news about a similar event that took place in 1959 in Turkish skies was released by Hürriyet Newspaper. Hürriyet Newspaper, dated July 12, 1959, used the “Storks and Eagles in Battle Are Getting Reinforcement” title for the news and shared the following text with its readers:

“Aydın – After the storks gained the upper hand in the stork – eagle battle that has been going on for three days, about 30 to 40 storks arrived at the city for the first time and visited all the nests in the city. Mother storks, which came back with battle wounds, threw their dead babies from their nests and then flew back. It was observed that some of these stocks were injured. People are still helping the stork babies. Workers around the Menderes River reported that about 2,000 storks came to the help of the fighters this morning.”

In the continuation of the news, the following text was shared with the readers with the “Reinforcement of Eagles” sub-title, “Bursa – This morning, about 50 eagles flew to the Aegean direction over our city. It is believed that they are flying to the battle in Aydın.”

3rd Stork – Eagle Battle in Tarsus Skies – 1967

Similarly, the battle of storks and eagles took place in Tarsus skies in 1967. AAP – Reuters reporter reported the news on August 10, 1967, as, “Yesterday, hundreds of eagles, which lost the battle they took with the storks over the valley close to Tarsus, flew towards Cyprus. After the battle, 50 dead eagles were found on the ground. According to the witnesses, the fierce battle, in which many eagles were wounded, ended with the ‘unexpected victory of the storks’. The loss of the storks was unknown. Fishermen reported that they found 5 dead storks and 17 dead eagles floating on the water.”

Other Great Animal Wars in History

There are also records and claims about other battles, similar to the stork – eagle battle we have told took place in different places. Here are some of these: According to the famous traveler Marco Polo, a great battle between elephants and tigers took place in India in the past. Elephants were the victorious side, in which about 7,000 tigers and 1,500 elephants lost their lives.

Another rumor about these events is coming from Congo: Villagers in one of the Congo villages woke up with a great noise in the morning and witness the war of crocodiles and herons by the nearby lake. This battle took several days. In the end, an undetermined number of herons died but it was also found that all the crocodiles in the lake were blind without any exceptions.

According to the rumors, a similar stork – eagle battle in Egypt took place near one of the sources of the Nile River in 1929. Storks were victorious at the end of the battle, which took about 9 months and eagles left the area in flocks by accepting their defeat.

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