Sunday, June 04, 2006
I Bis Therefore I Am
White Ibis are pretty common around here, poking and probing their curved bills in cow fields and marshes for a meal. If fiddler crabs, crawfish, and crickets dreamed, these birds might be their worst nightmare. In a flock feeding, they remind me of Asian rice planters stooping and bending in fluid motion. Those in the top photo were keeping a close eye on me as I canoed beneath them. I like the effect of the storm and silhouette lighting in that picture. It seems to portend the coming storm as well as turning snow white birds to black.
Young ibis are not snow white. They wear a more cryptic covering until maturity. I got pretty close to this youngster and I think he was debating whether to make the effort to fly or not. He chose not.
When they travel, they often seem to fly at extreme altitudes...a tiny, dazzling white sparkle against a blue sky usually turns out to be a flock of ibis.
At times, huge flocks of ibis used to work the green around the Castillo de San Marcos when I rangered there. There was a vast mole cricket population in the grassy slopes surrounding the old fortress and the ibis put the hammer to them. What a great solution to a "pest" that drives "perfect lawn" homeowners crazy.
Imagine a lawn care business that came to your home with a flock of white ibis instead of Diazinon.
Posted by R.Powers at 7:29 AM