I spotted these two Limpkins the other evening as they emerged from the reeds along the water’s edge with an Apple Snail, a favorite treat. The juvenile waited patiently as its parent expertly extracted the Apple Snail from its shell.
“The Limpkin’s bill is uniquely adapted to foraging on apple snails. The closed bill has a gap just before the tip that makes the bill act like tweezers. The tip itself is often curved slightly to the right so it can be slipped into the right-handed chamber of the snail.” (All About Birds, Limpkin). Yummy~! It made me smile to see the adult hand over the succulent mollusk to the happy youngster. The Limpkin is a common wading bird here in our swamps and marshes, but is not related to herons, egrets, cranes or other wading birds – it’s in a Family of its own. Though they often blend in visually with their surroundings, Limpkins are easily recognized by the sound of their “piercing banshee wails” (Audubon). Listen to this short Bird Note episode for more interesting info about the Limpkin . . . and a taste of his screeching early morning call.