The Stork Delivers

Paurotis Pond, Everglades National Park

Paurotis Pond, Everglades National Park

Would you look at me?

Tightrope walker,

Mangrove dancer,

As I teeter on a tree.

Teetering-Wood-Stork

Instinct throbs within my breast,

Impels my primal urges,

Fuels wing borne surges,

Time summons to build a nest.

Wood-Stork-with-Plucked-Lea

Cerulean skies birth no rain.

Vegetation’s shriveled,

So creatures bedeviled

Seek pools their lives to sustain.

W-Stork-at-Paurotis-Pond

Optimal feeding situation,

Where finned hoards huddle,

Crowded into a mega puddle;

Ready for my tacto-location.

W-S-Low-Water-Feeding

Eat forty times my body weight

To supply the energy I need,

To build, to brood; to feed,

Wait! First, I must procreate.

Wood-Stork-Flying-w-Leaves

Sweetheart lovely with feathers bright,

Constructs a nest of wood with me

Near neighbors in the rookery,

Then, lays her clutch of chalky white.

W-Stork-Rookery-Landing

Chicks so small peek from each egg.

Hungry cries send me to search,

Catch food then return to perch,

Feeding open mouths that beg.

W-Stork-Rookery

Before long our parental duties end,

Our fledglings must survive alone.

The onus given when fully grown,

To multiply; our species to amend.

Lone-Wood-Stork_

The Wood Stork has been on the Endangered Species List in the Southeastern United States since 1984, primarily due to habitat loss. It feeds by swinging its beak back and forth through shallow water until sensitive hairs detect movement. Then, its beak snaps shut in an amazing 25 milliseconds to capture its food. Wood Storks nest in noisy rookeries where large numbers of birds gather to feed and brood. These sites are usually encompassed by water. I took the photos above, with the exception of the two feeding Wood Storks, at Paurotis Pond in Everglades National Park. The rookeries are protected and lie far from human access. My request to photograph from a kayak in the middle of the pond was understandably denied. So, these photos of distant nesting Wood Storks were taken with my Bigma’s 500mm reach, a reasonable alternative.

For a more recent post on the Wood Stork, see Wood Storks–Preparing the Nursery from April 2, 2010.

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6 thoughts on “The Stork Delivers

  1. Karen, this is really lovely your words with the duty of nature and the photos … truely lovely. Barbara

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