Friday, August 10, 2012

Wood Stork

No one goes out of his or her way to see a Wood Stork.

It’s a bird with an image problem.  Or maybe we have a problem with its image? 

Truthfully, I go looking for the good-looking birds…the colorful birds, the shiny birds, the sleek birds and the ones with the beautiful calls.  The Wood Stork has few of these beauty characteristics.  But that is my problem, not the Wood Storks. 

It is a large bird standing over three feet tall with a nearly six-foot wingspan.  Its plumage is mostly white with black outlines. Its head and neck are bald and rather mottled-looking in shades of brown and tan.  The bald head gives it an odd appearance.  Bald eagles are called ‘bald’, but their heads are actually covered with white feathers. The Wood Stork is vulture-bald. It contrasts sharply to its elegant body of fluffy white feathers. 

Their range is the near coastal area of Southeastern United States…South Carolina to Texas.  They are a year-round resident in most of South America.  The coastal marsh is where it nests and feeds its young on small fish, frogs and invertebrates.  The chicks have many enemies including raccoons, crows, vultures, grackles and skunks.  A chick and a half is considered a successful breeding cycle for the Wood Stork. 

An adults Wood Stork has few natural enemies, but alligators take a few.

For a bird already lacking a pretty face, unfortunately it has little to fall back on with a song.  It’s usually silent.

June 20, 2012