Saturday, April 26, 2014

Wood Stork

On occasion, the wood stork comes and visits the creek along the Back Forty Garden and Park.  It rests on the bank of the creek and preens himself.  The almost all white wood stork is a large wading bird with blackish gray legs which make for a good camouflage when hunting for minnows and other small delicacies at the bottom of the creek.  His feet are pink.

The wood stork has a peculiar way of hunting.  He keeps his mouth open under water, waiting for his prey to come to him and then he snaps it up.  in other words, a minnow swims right into his open mouth.

The head is dark brown with a bald, black face and the long thick down curved bill is very dark yellowish.

The wood storks may be seen around marshes and shallow lakes.  They may be roosting on the ground or resting in trees.  They may also be found in parks where they are fed by children; therefore, they are not particular afraid of human beings.

The number of wood storks has diminished drastically due to drainage of wetlands, streams, and rivers and people are building, expanding and encroaching along the water.  It left the wood stork with a limited natural habitat.  In August 2013, this magnificent but awkward wading bird was classified as an endangered species.

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