A PAIR of romantic lovers have gone into hiding.

The two rare white storks creating a flutter in West Yorkshire are proving elusive.

There have been no firm sightings since the weekend of the pair, who were nesting at Horbury Bridge, near Wakefield.

Now, birdwatchers are hoping the birds will return - to a new nesting platform, built just feet away from the dangerous site the birds had chosen on an electricity pylon.

Painstaking detective work has turned up some of the previous adventures of the birds, which first appeared in Yorkshire almost a fortnight ago.

The female was found in an emaciated condition in France in September, 2002.

She was nursed back to health, then released early last year. Before her release, the bird was fitted with a special leg ring bearing unique identification marks, which can be clearly seen through binoculars.

Birdwatchers have discovered that the male - who had escaped from a wildlife park - was ringed in Belgium using a non-conventional ring.

But it was fitted with a "standard" ring in Suffolk last year.

However, despite efforts by the RSPB bird protection charity , Yorkshire Electricity and British Waterways to make the birds feel at home by erecting a special breeding platform, the couple seem to have gone into hiding.

David Corlett, the RSPB's Yorkshire Flying Squad officer, said: "Maybe the birds want a little privacy as they carry out their courtship."


* Nests on rooftops and atop poles

* Noted for long red legs and red bill

* 100,000 pairs in Europe - mainly Iberia and Germany

* Winters in Africa

* Feeds on lizards, insects, frogs and snakes

* Feeds in fields and meadows