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Wood stork (Mycteria americana) Kingdom: Animalia Class: Aves Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ciconiidae Listing Status: Endangered This was the first Wood stork I have seen this winter. He or she caught a very large fish and had a large fish for lunch, when I took the movie and photos, he or she ran from me thinking I was going to take the meal away. After eating her tasty meal she went back down to the Gulf and fished again. These Wood Storks come to the West Coast of Florida, near the Gulf of Mexico every winter. During the summer, I never see them. The Word Stork is an Endangered Species in the United States. Wood storks are large, long-legged wading birds, about 5O inches tall, with a wingspan of 60 to 65 inches. The southeast United States breeding population of the wood stork has declined from 20,000 pairs in the 1930's to about 10,000 pairs by 1960, and to a low of approximately 5,000 pairs in the late 1970s. Nesting occurred in the Everglades. The generally accepted explanation for the decline of the wood stork is the reduction in food base " small fish', to support the breeding colonies. This reduction is attributed to loss of wetland habitat as well as to changes in water levels from the draining of wetlands and constructing levees, canals, and floodgates to alter water flow in south Florida. The current population of adult birds is difficult to estimate, since not all nests each year. Presently, the wood stork breeding population is believed to be greater than 8,000 nesting pairs (16,000 breeding adults). Nesting has been restricted to Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. A second separate, non-endangered population of wood storks breeds from Mexico to northern Argentina. Storks from both populations move northward after breeding, with birds from the southeastern United States population moving as far north as North Carolina on the Atlantic coast and into Alabama and eastern Mississippi along the Gulf coast, and storks from Mexico moving up into Texas and Louisiana and as far north as Arkansas and Tennessee along the Mississippi River Valley. There have been occasional sightings in all States along and east of the Mississippi River, and sporadic sightings in some States west of the Mississippi and in Ontario. Loss of nesting habitat (primarily cypress swamps) may be affecting wood storks in central Florida, where nesting in non-native trees, other factors known to affect nesting success include prolonged drought and flooding, raccoon predation on nests, and human disturbance of rookeries. U.S. populations are endangered
Gulf of Mexico, Florida
Eating a large fish, she ran when I was taking photos, thought I wanted her meal. After she ate she went back to the Gulf and caught more fish.