Max the stork’s journey ends at Madrid winter retreat

SPAIN, SWITZERLAND – Max, the Swiss-born stork who is the longest banded and tracked animal in the world, has died at 13.5 years of age in her winter retreat in Spain, said the Natural History Museum of Fribourg (NHM) on 27 October.

Max mating back in March 2011 at that time she reencountered her old mate of five seasons but still had a newer love interest – Photo ©H.Burgermeister

Although investigators knew most details of Max’s life, the cause of death cannot be determined as her corpse had been partly eaten by scavengers when found by scientists. Accidental death could be one of the reasons as her body was found near a power line in the south of Madrid.

Max’s life

Max and her offspring in May 2012 – Photo H. Bürgermeister

The Swiss museum made the surprising discovery that after six years migrating in winter to Morocco and then Catalonia, Spain, Max’s idea of the wild was spending winters in a building in Madrid’s Vallecas neighbourhood.

The NHM had been following Max since 1999 and had recently banded the stork with a more powerful tracking device.

Max, a female, was born in Avenches, canton Vaud in 1999. She mated for the first time at age 3 and raised 26 offspring in 11 separate occasions.

The Fribourg Museum in a statement thanked volunteers, supporters and the Affenberg Salem Park which helped track her movements for more than a decade.

GenevaLunch had closely followed her forays, matings, births and the education of her offspring for the past six years. See her life in review here.

Rest in peace, Max!