If you have been in the Sea Pines Resort recently, you might have seen a large bird that looks like a cross between a turkey vulture and an ibis.
It is neither. It is a wood stork, and these wonderful birds are making a comeback and seem to like it in Sea Pines.
What is a wood stork you ask? Below is some general information on these avian creatures from wikipedia.org.
The wood stork is a large American wading bird in the family Ciconiidae.
It was formerly called the “wood ibis”, though it is not an ibis. It is found in subtropical and tropical habitats in the Americas, including the Caribbean.
Originally described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, this stork likely evolved in tropical regions. The head and neck are bare of feathers, and dark grey in color. The plumage is mostly white, with the exception of the tail and some of the wing feathers, which are black with a greenish-purplish sheen.
The juvenile differ from the adult.
Juveniles sport a feathered head and a yellow bill, compared to the black adult bill. There is little sexual dimorphism.
The wood stork’s habitat can vary, but it must have a tropical or subtropical climate with fluctuating water levels. The wood stork nests colonially. Sticks and greenery make up the nest. Females lay a single clutch of three to five eggs. Incubation lasts for around 30 days. The chicks hatch underdeveloped, or altricial, requiring support from their parents.
They fledge 60 to 65 days after hatching.
Only about 31% of nests fledge a chick in any given year. Most chicks die during their first two weeks, despite being watched by an adult during that time. Wood stork parents feed fed fish of increasing size, as the baby grows. The diet of the adult changes throughout the year.
During the dry season, fish and insects are eaten, compared to the addition of frogs and crabs during the wet season. Because it forages by touch, it needs shallow water to effectively catch food. This is also the reason why the wood stork breeds when water levels start to fall.