Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Little Hugo

Hugo's Flowers

Hugo stole my heart from the first moment. His placement with foster parents, his pitiful coughing and sneezing, it was so endearing. I have truly enjoyed watching Hugo improve, grow, learn and discover.

But now I must say goodbye to my White Stork friend. The young life, seeming to be doing so well, ebbed away in a matter of moments on 24 July 2006.

I'd like to share with you now a collection of photos, showing Hugo's progress, his last moment, his death, and his parents' reaction. If you think you might not be able to see these last few pictures, be warned and watch for the signal (***) to stop scrolling down.

Hugo's Story....

On 3 June 2006, a pair of White Storks
had two young chicks in the nest:

On 9 June, there were still two chicks,
but one was much larger than the other;
Hugo had been placed in the nest to be
fostered by the parents, who had lost one
chick already, and would soon lose the other:

By Week 1, Hugo was standing on his
knees, and had grown quite a bit:

In Week 2, his black wing feathers
were very visible:

Week 3 showed more growth, in
size and abilities:

By Week 4, Hugo was really starting
to look like his foster parents:

His first time standing on his feet:

The first time Hugo flaps his wings:

The parents leave Hugo alone in the nest
for the first time since he was placed there:

On 24 July 2006, the live camera captured
Hugo's last moment; note that his head is
still raised, and he is sitting in the normal
"tucked leg" position, resting in the shade
of his parent:


Not ten minutes later, the little chick who
had been doing so well was gone; he was
there, and now he was not:

And then the nest is vacant:

The parents returned to the nest that
evening to find it empty, and almost seemed
to have a bewildered look in their eyes:

The next day, one parent cried out -- was it at
another stork? A different bird? Or was it the cry of a broken heart:

To be continued....


MEMA Jo said...

Little Hugo captured the hearts all over the world. His untimely death has left us all devastated. He was my midnight viewing pleasure since I am a nightowl. I checked on him every evening before retiring for the night.
Loved that little Hugo!

wvgal_dana said...

Every time I want to write something about "lil Hugo", I start crying.

An orphaned stork
Someone took
Put in a nest
Of bad bad grass
Other young had died
Now another died
Only "lil Hugo" left
Put in a nest
Of bad bad grass
We watched him grow
Smiles and laughter
When they seen Hugo
Some worry of his
Cough and sneezing
Strong he grew
Much noise he made
Then their he was
Standing up on his legs
Ok I'll try one foot today
Laughter again cause he did
So cute to watch and listen
He stole your heart and soul
Put in a nest
With bad bad grass
Humans put me in here
So if things go wrong
Humans will get me out
Before anything happens
Hugo thought they would
People watching thought
Humans would get Hugo out
I watched that day
That Dad jumped on Hugo
There was no step; a jump
Why was this to happen
To Hugo our friend
Was it the bad bad grass
Could food have been short
When I looked at Hugo
So strong he looked
I'll wait like everyone
To hear what caused his death
But nothing nothing can
Help my heart feel any better
Cause Hugo became apart of me
Like my arm that moves
My leg that carries me
My heart that feels empty
Hugo Oh my dear "lil Hugo"
You were adopted by more
Than two parent storks

July 30, 2006 6:29pmEst

Sandy said...

Oh, I am so sad. I have ben out of town and missed watching my little baby stork.
This is devastating....

MITS said...

First chance I gotten to see the tribute. I watched him all the time day and night and was so upset when he sounded like he could not breathe. I still miss him. My sister sent me an article about a swan that lives in Cloumbia , Maryland, and the signets died, and the people that lived around the lake could hear her mournful cries. So sad.