When I first started noticing wading wetland birds on my trips to Florida about a decade ago, one particularly large, somewhat awkward-looking bird really caught my eye – the wonderful, one-of-a-kind Wood Stork! Wood Storks are the only stork native to North America, and they are found in the marshes, lakes, swamps and other wetlands of Florida.
One often hears descriptions such as ‘A face only a mother could love’ when people refer to Wood Storks. But personally, I think these lovely creatures are just spectacular! They are uniquely beautiful with their bald heads and extra-long, thick bills, specially designed for capturing small fish and crustaceans in shallow water. We are fortunate to have many breeding Wood Storks in our local wetland preserves. In fact, they are just coming back in greater numbers now, and will soon choose the best nesting spots for the season.However, these extraordinary birds are not doing well in most areas of Florida. “Like many Florida birds associated with wetlands, the Wood Stork has suffered from the destruction and degradation of our state’s wetlands. Today, the Wood Stork is classed “Endangered” by the State of Florida and the federal government.” (Source: http://fl.audubon.org/wood-stork)
Click on this link: “Endangered” to hear a program on NPR about a year ago on the current status of the Wood Stork. And, for even more intriguing information about these special creatures, listen to this: Wood Storks and Climate Change, a 2-minute audio piece posted on Bird Note not long ago.