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Stork (Heb. chası̂dâh), a large bird of passage of the heron family. The white stork (Ciconia alba, Linn.) is one of the largest and most conspicuous of land birds, standing nearly four feet high, the jet black of its wings and its bright-red beak and legs contrasting finely with the pure white of its plumage. Zech. 5:9. In the neighborhood of man it devours readily all kinds of offal and garbage. For this reason, doubtless, it is placed in the list of unclean birds by the Mosaic law. Lev. 11:19; Deut. 14:18. The range of the white stork extends over the whole of Europe, except the British isles, where it is now a rare visitant, and over northern Africa and Asia as far at least as Burmah. The black stork (Ciconia nigra, Linn.), though less abundant in places, is scarcely less widely distributed, but has a more easterly range than its congener. Both species are very numerous in Palestine. While the black stork is never found about buildings, but prefers marshy places in forests, and breeds on the tops of the loftiest trees, the white stork attaches itself to man, and for the service which it renders in the destruction of reptiles and the removal of offal has been repaid from the earliest times by protection and reverence. The derivation of chası̂dâh (from chesed, “kindness”) points to the paternal and filial attachment of which the stork seems to have been a type among the Hebrews no less than the Greeks and Romans. It was believed that the young repaid the care of their parents by attaching themselves to them for life, and tending them in old age. That the parental attachment of the stork is very strong has been proved on many occasions. Few migratory birds are more punctual to the time of their reappearance than the white stork. The stork has no note, and the only sound it emits is that caused by the sudden snapping of its long mandibles.


The Stork.