May 18, 2009

Of Least Concern

I discovered the wood stork (Mycteria americana) while watching Planet Earth with my wife and kidlets last week. My girls, who have had their sensibilities tainted by Disney, took umberage with the storks' heads. I knew then that I must share.

It's the only stork that is currently breeding in North America in the wild, though its home is more tropical than anything my native Northern California has to offer. They are large wading birds with a wingspan approaching six feet. It's got a scabrous, almost Marabou-ish head to it. Its beak isn't plunged into rotting corpses, however. No, its used in the much more tasteful (literally) application of fishing.

Their US populations are considered endangered, though elsewhere they carry the honor of being a species of "least concern." This is one of the few times when being dismissed is actually a very good thing. It beats being endangered any day of the week.

Photo by Stig Nygaard

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if other birds call it sh*t-head?

Shane said...

Very Classy

The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls said...

It looks like it has barnacles stuck to it. We scrape things like that off the bottom of the boat every year!

hydrolagus said...

That head would blend in with rocks impressively well. Nice camo.

John said...

I spent a couple weeks with my Dad in western Florida. They were always around at the pond right outside of his apartment door. Man are they ugly.