(ANSA) - Palermo, July 19 - A record 70 stork couples are nesting in Sicily just two decades since the return of the migrating bird after a 500-year absence, LIPU-BirdLife Italia reported Thursday. The bird-protection group cited the provinces of Siracusa, Agrigento, Trapani and Palermo as popular nesting spots for the stork, which returned to the island for the first time 20 years ago. Before that, it had been 500 years since the long-legged birds were spotted in this part of the Mediterranean. LIPU-BirdLife Italia credited its artificial nests for first luring the stork to Sicily, in its migratory path from North Africa. "Today," it said, "the majority of their nests are in the medium-tension power lines by Enel," the Italian energy giant.