Vomit balls full of junk also found in stork village Westbroek: ‘They are bursting with rubber bands and silicone’

Vomit balls full of junk also found in stork village

On June 15, 2019, a young stork fell from the nest along the Schalkwijkse Wetering in Houten. The animal ambulance brought the unfortunate bird to the bird shelter in Utrecht. A vet concluded that there was no saving it: the stomach was rock hard and was packed with postman rubber bands.

The last meal of this dead stork was served in the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam investigated. The young stork turned out to be fed by the parents, in addition to rubber bands of the wide ‘postman type’, also with some thin rubber bands and a brown leather wrist lace. A total of no less than 490 grams. Except for some soil, the stomach contained no natural food at all.

Young storks are often fed with earthworms by their parents. The unfortunate parents must have mistaken the batch of discarded rubber bands for a juicy meal of earthworms. How and where these rubber bands ended up in the environment is unknown. In the museum in Rotterdam, the elastic vomit ball has been given a place since 2020 next to the McFlurry hedgehog, a hedgehog that was stuck with its head in a McDonalds ice cream cup. They are part of the permanent collection under the heading dead animals with a story to show that waste does not belong in nature.