Stork Flies Thousands Of Miles To Reunite With His Partner Each Year

by Jessica Rothhaar
Jessica is a freelance writer for LittleThings. She’s a proud Pittsburgher that loves to drink tea and adopt cats in her spare time. When she's not hanging out with her kitties, Kiwi and Galdalf, she's most likely in a bridesmaid dress attending another wedding. She is a self-proclaimed Slytherin and would like to visit Harry Potter World as soon as possible!

For years, a stork named Klepetan has migrated from South Africa back to a familiar rooftop in a small, Croatian village.

Millions of birds all around the world migrate with the warm weather, so what makes this stork’s trip so unique? He’s flying home to a special someone.

Malena is Klepetan’s mate, and they have reunited on their rooftop nest every year for the past 15 years. Malena’s wing is broken so she isn’t able to join Klepetan on the 8,000-mile journey south in the fall. But he always comes back to her.

The happy couple has raised more than 40 baby storks over the years, and each year they expand their adorable family even more. The storks are local celebrities in their little Croatian town, and are known to the townspeople as an inspiring tale of love.

Storks don’t typically mate for life, but animal relationships can sometimes be quite unpredictable — like this kitten who chose her human during a chance encounter.

We may never know why Klepetan chooses to return each year, but we do know it’s the most romantic stork tale we’ve ever heard!

[H/T: The Dodo]

Each year, Malena the stork waits patiently for her mate, Klepetan, to migrate back from the south. She’s unable to join him on the 8,000-mile journey because a hunter injured her wing years ago.

Malena’s caretaker, Stjepan Vokić, has been caring for the storks since they nested 15 years ago on his rooftop. Each year, Vokić sets up a bucket of fish for Klepetan to eat upon his return from the long journey.

This year, Klepetan surprised everyone by showing up a week early. When Vokić’s neighbors noticed the stork had returned, they weren’t sure it was actually Klepetan.

“He went straight to the bucket of fish, which was empty because I was not expecting him yet, and only he knows where to find it,” Vokić explained. “Then, of course, we went to the nest just like every other year. That’s Klepetan alright.”

Storks aren’t necessarily known to choose mates for life, but they do typically return to the same nest. This may explain Klepetan’s desire to return back to his mate every year — or it could simply be true love!

Regardless of why Klepetan continues to return, the little town eagerly awaits his arrival every spring. His long journey isn’t an easy one, and the townspeople are always anxious to find out if he has survived another dangerous trip north.

To the delight of the storks’ fans, Klepetan made it back for the 15th year in a row to join his mate on their romantic, rooftop nest.

Klepetan and Malena have had over 40 baby storks through the years, and each year their family grows a little bigger! We have a feeling there will be many more little storks to come.

What do you think of this incredible birdie romance? Let us know in the comments.

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