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Head of a Wood Stork by AuntDot

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Canon PowerShot SX260 HS; 1/160s, f/6.8, ISO 200; focal length 90.0mm (35mm equivalent 641mm); AUTO setting

I spent some time with some wading birds at Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, FLorida, U.S.A., while my patient husband waited in the car. While photographing a flock of white ibises, two wood storks crossed the road and walked right in front of me. I stood within five feet of one of them for a long time and was lucky enough to get several photos. The only other wood stork I had ever seen was at a wildlife park. I was surprised to see these in the wild, and to see how comfortable they were with me so close by. They are endangered in Florida and the U.S. See information below about the wood stork.
FEATURED in Florida the Sunshine State, Oct. 5, 2012
FEATURED in The Birds, Oct. 1, 2012

From National Geographic website:
Wood storks are tall, white denizens of freshwater or brackish wetlands and swamps. They can be identified by their long legs, featherless heads, and prominent bills.
These waders feed on minnows in shallow water by using their bills to perform a rare and effective fishing technique. The stork opens its bill and sticks it into the water, then waits for the touch of an unfortunate fish that wanders too close. When it feels a fish, the stork can snap its bill shut in as little as 25 milliseconds—an incredibly quick reaction time matched by few other vertebrates.
The storks prefer to employ this technique in isolated pools created by tides or falling freshwater levels, where fish congregate en masse. In some areas, such as Florida, breeding begins with the dry season that produces these optimal fishing conditions.
Though wood storks eat small fish, they eat a lot of them. An average nesting pair, with two fledglings, may eat over 400 pounds (181 kilograms) of fish during a single breeding season.
Wood storks are social animals. They feed in flocks and nest in large rookeries—sometimes several pairs to a single tree. Females lay two to five eggs, which both sexes incubate for about one month. Young fledge about two months after hatching.
Wood storks breed in the southeastern United States and are the only stork to breed in the U.S. They also breed in Central and South America from Mexico to Argentina. Though U.S. populations are endangered—probably because of the loss of optimal feeding habitat—the South American stork populations are in better shape.

Having lived most of my life in the northeast U.S., I am enjoying retired life in sunny Florida. I enjoy photographing many different kinds of things, but especially flowers and animals, including the beautiful birds found here in Florida. I am currently using a Canon EOS Rebel XSi/450D camera, a Canon 55-250 mm telescopic zoom lens, and a Sony P10 Cyber-shot digital camera. My newest acquisition is a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS, a point and shoot which I will be carrying in my purse.

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  • AnnDixon
    AnnDixonover 2 years ago

    Natures Paintbrush

    BEAUTIFUL work, wonderful close-up,
    love and hugs Ann xox

  • Thanks very much, Ann!

    – AuntDot

  • AndreaEL
    AndreaELover 2 years ago

    Beautiful close up Dot… lovely details…

  • Thank you, Andrea! Much appreciated!

    – AuntDot

  • Steve Randall
    Steve Randallover 2 years ago

    Featured Monday 1 Oct 2012

    Beautiful work!

  • Thank you so much for this feature, Steve. I appreciate it very much!

    – AuntDot

  • Monnie Ryan
    Monnie Ryanover 2 years ago

    Wonderful close-up, Dot – must have been a treat to see them!

  • I did have a great time with the birds! Thank you, Monnie!

    – AuntDot

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeover 2 years ago

  • Thanks, Ray!

    – AuntDot

  • Vitta
    Vittaover 2 years ago

    Excellent work!!!

  • Thank you so much, Vitta!

    – AuntDot

  • dedmanshootn
    dedmanshootnover 2 years ago

    haven’t seen one of these in ages. they’re so ugly they’re beautiful i think. one of my fav calls ever came from my dad a few years before he died. he was with a tour in the glades and called me on his cell, he was only one with coverage for some reason, to describe one of these and ask me if i knew what it was. i was laying in bed literally half dead with pneumonia but was able to make the i.d. for them from 3600 miles away anyway, as my DOD fully expected. brightened my whole day if not week! still brings a smile. congrats on the well desreved feature

  • Thanks so much, Dave. They are so unusual looking that I can imagine how your dad described it!

    – AuntDot

  • RickDavis
    RickDavisover 2 years ago

    This is an excellent close-up of the unique bird,,,great job getting it.


  • Thanks, Rick. It was fun!

    – AuntDot

  • billfox256
    billfox256over 2 years ago

    This is a really tremendous capture!!!!! Excellent work!!! Bill

  • Thank you, Bill. It’s really “in your face” if nothing else! LOL

    – AuntDot

  • Peter Doré
    Peter Doréover 2 years ago

  • Thanks much, Peter!

    – AuntDot

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