Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Woodies On The Prowl


These big headed birds are Wood Storks. This flock is working an ebbing tide near an oyster bar. As the falling tide concentrates the fish and shrimp, the Wood Storks swish their open bills back and forth through the water, feeding mostly by touch. When the sensitive bill touches a fish, it snaps shut in an instant. These are birds who need shallow water for feeding. Floods and high water conditions can create starvation conditions for them. This shot was late in the day with fading light, not my sharpest, but I still like it.

Wood Storks are especially beautiful in flight. Posted by Picasa

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I saw the title of this post, I thought it was more tales about your misspent youth.

Pablo
roundrockjournal.com

thingfish23 said...

Once a small fish contacts the interior of the beak, it is snapped shut in 1/40 second, one of the fastest reflex actions known. This is known as grope feeding and its success depends upon dense populations of small fish. Wood storks forage, or feed in drying wetlands, which concentrate prey. It is estimated that the average stork family requires 443 pounds of fish during the breeding season.

http://myfwc.com/viewing/species/woodstork.htm

Pretty cool.

Hick said...

Beautiful birds. What TF said about it's beak snapping shut in 1/40 second...I believe that's just slightly faster than my kids snapping up any candy in the house. Heh!

BTW...where do they go during anay floods or high water? Are they able to migrate somewhere drier? (This could be another starving clawless crab moment question...if it is, be kind.)

Floridacracker said...

Pablo,
I made the mistake of sneaking a peak at Pure Florida on my lunch break...I almost choked on my PB&J due to intense LOL when I read your comment. You are a funny guy!

Thing,
443 pounds of fish is a huge number of individual prey animals considering how small most of their prey is. We need wetlands!

Hick,
First things first...please forgive me if my crab answer was unkind...I didn't mean it to be. I love your comments and questions.
When there is no shallow water, they must find it or starve. When flooding occurs during the nesting season, chick mortality can be pretty high. We humans really hurt these birds when we flooded large sections of the everglades. It reduced their feeding grounds. Now we are spending billions to try and fix it...not just for the Wood Storks sake.

P.S. We should do a post about how to hide candy from the kids.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

Those birds are such beauties. I am so glad when you post these pictures. So many of our birds have gone for the winter, it's pretty lonely without their flaming reds and iridescent blues. Somehow seeing a photograph that you've taken feels a little bit like seeing it myself. Thanks-- I hope you plan to post lots of your winter flocks this coming season.

Floridacracker said...

RD,
You bet I will now! Thanks for the nice comments!

Hick said...

Hey, no apology necessary! I'm not that easily offended. I took it all in good humor and in the interest of learning something new. After all, you are the Oracle of Florida (and seafood.)