Sunday, June 04, 2006

I Bis Therefore I Am


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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.


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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 Picasa

18 comments:

Hick said...

I love that picture of the young one. What great camo. Those are beutiful birds.

pablo said...

Nice post, and a perfect submission for the next I and the Bird carnival. You should consider submitting it.

roger said...

great storm pic. the birds look kinda prehistoric.

robin andrea said...

Nice photographs, FC, and cool info about their eating habits. This would make a great post for I and the Bird.

I would love a lawn care business that came with a flock of ibis. Now that's natural pest control.

Mrs. S said...

Love the storm pic! I miss thunder storms... *sigh*

That lawn-care business sounds lucrative though - you should start seeing about catching some of these guys and trying that out ;)

doubleknot said...

Wonderful picture of birds and storm. Good info on the birds also.
Nice post on the magnolia. If we were all so lucky as to have people like that in our lives.

Laura said...

The Ibis are such busy birds. I see them often around my neighborhood, eating everything in sight. Unfortunately, I rarely see them in my front yard, possibly because of our cats.
Great pictures and I loved the magnoila post as well!
Is my site still loading up slowly? I'm still working on it, just let me know if you have any more problems. Thanks!
(at least I hope you got the lawn mowed while it loaded. LOL!)

Tim Rice said...

Neat pictures. I think I like the first one the best.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

The picture of the ibis with storm clouds behind was really a great shot.

Some of these little white ibis have ventured into the eastern part of Kentucky. I haven't seen any in our part of Ky yet, but I'm sure it won't be long before they are here. I sure hope they eat mosquitos too.

Thanks for the informative post...it's always nice to learn something new.

Floridacracker said...

Hick,
You should see the scarlet ibis down around Flamingo in the glades. Wowsers!

Pablo,
Thanks.

dpr,
I see dinos in every bird.

Robin,
Lawn aereation and cricket removal all in one step.

Mrs. S,
We had a heck of a thunderstorm yesterday...much needed.

Doubleknot,
Definitely a gift.

Laura,
The ibis said to tell you they don't fear that one fat cat. Your site loaded quickly today. Luckily a good thunderstorm precluded any of that silly mowing stuff.

Tim,
Thanks. Me too.

Abandoned,
I didn't realize they went so far north.

Mrs. S said...

OooH! Does that mean your pond is feeling better?

Deb said...

Now there's something you don't see around here!

I like the lawn care business idea too.

Patrick said...

Hey I just wanted to drop in and ask you what Minorcan clan you are a part of. I am an 11th generation descendant of the Pacetti family. I find it intersting that every Minorcan descendant I meet, myself included, truly love Florida and care for the wildlife here. Very good photos and stories on here. Keep up the good work!

rick said...

Are the adults all white or are they mostly white with black?Near Dupont Center in the ditches there are large white birds with some black.Also do you have a recomendation for a bird book so I can look them up if I don't reconize them?

Floridacracker said...

Mrs. S,
The pond jumped up an inch or two...a slight reprieve for the kittyfish.

Patrick,
We are probably related. I grew up with Pacettis and have them in our 236 year old Florida family history. I do try and stay as anonymous as possible on this site, so I'm not posting my real last name, but it's one of the old St. Augustine names. Welcome to PureFlorida and thanks for the great comment.

Rick,
Big white birds may be wood storks. I have an old copy of Petersons Bird Guide, but there's a bunch of good ones out there.

Leslie said...

Love the photo of the ibis against the storm clouds. I'm glad to see you are getting a reprieve from your drought.

Likes2mtnbike said...

Saw a show about Old Florida a while back and this grizzled, old-timer cattleman said they used to EAT juvenile ibis breast! Roasted over a fire.
Whoo.

Floridacracker said...

Leslie,
We got a good rain, but are back to perfect sunny skies again...dang it.

Likes2mtnbike,
I imagine they taste fishy with all the snails, etc that they eat. Sticken with chicken.