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Woodstork heaven

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

 

This bird is a large American wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae.

 

It was formerly called the "Wood Ibis", though it is not really an ibis.

 

Itis a subtropical and tropical species which breeds in much of South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

 

The Wood Stork is the only stork that presently breeds in North America. In the United States there is a small and endangered breeding population in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, along with a recently discovered rookery in southeastern North Carolina.

 

I live along the coastal region of Southern Georgia and have a small rookery just down the creek from me.

 

At times up to 5-8 birds will be in the creek, when the tide is right, walking slowly and steadily in the shallow water, sometimes up to its belly seeking its prey, which consists of fish, frogs and large insects.

 

It catches fish by holding its bill open in the water as it walks until a fish is detected.

 

This shot was taken at the Jacksonville, Florida Zoo. The birds are really not part of the zoo exhibits but have decided to nest in its trees. They come and go as they like. I guess they figure the picking are good there.

 

People walking below the nesting trees do not seem to bother them at all.

 

They have a face only a mother could love but in flight then are beautiful with their large black tipped wingspan.

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Taken on March 11, 2012