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Rodan the Romantic Croatian stork!

True love in the bird world is flourishing! Rodan the stork is a romantic old thing, it would seem... He has made the long journey from Africa to Croatia to be with his handicapped mate there for the fifth year in a row!

His long term partner, a female stork called Malena, was injured when hunters shot her wing and has since then been unable to fly and is cared for by Stjepan Vokic. Stjepan said that Rodan made the 13,000 kilometer (8,060 mile) flight from South Africa a little earlier this year than most and that he looked very tired once he got to the Croatian village of Brodski Varos, in eastern Croatia.

The story gets even more beautiful as Stjepan explalins how Rodan and Malena have baby chicks evert year and that Rodan takes responsibility for their flying lessons since Malena cannot fly. Once the chicks are grown enough and sufficent fliers, Rodan takes them with him to South Africa for the winter and then returns again to Malena with them in the Spring.

What a lovely Easter story!, 29 March 2010


Croatian storks Rodan and Malena
reunited after 8,000 mile winter flight

These birds of a feather always flock together
in sickness and in health.


Rodan and Malena, Storks reunited in Slavonski Brod, Croatia

After a 13,000km (8,000-mile) journey, Rodan the stork has once again been reunited with his true love Malena.

For the fifth year in a row, the faithful bird has flown back to the same rooftop in east Croatia to see his disabled partner.
He spends his winters alone in South Africa because poor Malena cannot fly after being shot.
But every spring Rodan returns, presumably telling his wingmen before they land: ‘What happens in Cape Town stays in Cape Town.’

He keeps a very strict timetable, usually arriving back at the same time on the same day in March to be welcomed by locals. But this year he was in such a hurry to see Malena that he was two hours early.

Every summer, the love birds bring up chicks, with Rodan leading their flying lessons in preparation for the trip south in summer.

Stjepan Vokic, whose roof the couple nest on, has taken care of Malena since she was first injured by hunters in 1993.

‘Each year, I worry Rodan will not return safely to his Malena,’ he said.

‘I know many other storks return a few days later but he knows he needs to return home because Malena is waiting for him.’, 30th March, 2010


I have family in Croatia, and opposite our house there we always see a pair of storks nesting and rearing chicks every summer. It's a sight that's always brought joy to my holidays so thanks Metro for reporting this story, because it really made me smile. A love-story indeed!

Lynn, London, 3/4/2010, 29 March 2010



This is the most romantic story one can imagine - about true love, dedication and faithfullness...and goodness in human heart, that already touched souls of many people in my country. This is story about 7 years long love between two beautiful birds and story about one great man who takes care about them with full heart and soul.

15 years ago female stork Malena ("the little one") was hurt by Italian hunters, her wing never fully recovered so she cannot fly any more. Since this accident, she was adopted by one loving man (Stjepan Vokic) who saved her life and who takes care about her all these years. Malena became special member of his family. Stjepan is not rich guy, he even had to cancell his cellphone to have enough money to feed Malena during the winter but he loves this bird so much that no sacrifice is difficult to him. This highly sensitive and intelligent creature certainly has special place in his warm heart.

8 years ago, Malena fell in love and found partner of her life, whom Stjepan gave name- Rodan. Couples of storks never separate - they live in monogamous relationships. Every autumn Rodan is temporary living her, because he flies away with other storks to Africa (Malena cannot do that any more because of broken wing). Of course, every springtime on exact same day and at same time (!) he faithfully comes back. For weeks before his return she is impatiently waiting for him on the roof, preparing the nest ...even watching video with two of them (!!!)

When happy couple finally meets, there is no end to joy and various expressions of love...till autumn does not bring painful moments of separation again. Rodan is not easily living his Malena and she is sad for weeks after he flyes away.

These two beautiful birds already raised up 32 little storks in last 8 years.

Several days ago, before Malena´s Rodan returned, all TV stations and many newspapers in Croatia presented us this beautiful story...after that, many of us were in hearts and thoughts waiting together with Malena the day when her dearest one will come back, while flying in mind together with him, supporting him and sharing her impatience and care. Yesterday we heard on the news that Rodan is back again so their love story can happily continue fulfilling hearts of many people with joy .

Stjepan Vokic taking care about Malena and Rodan

Stork Malena
Stork Malena

Malena and Rodan in their nest
Malena and Rodan in their nest, by Tatjana-Mihaela


More pictures of Rodan and Malena



Rodan and his Malena - VIDEO:

Love story au pays des cigognes

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