Wood Storks are considered as a threatened species, and once were on the endangered species lists. Some of these big, shy, unique-looking wading birds have been here in rural Northwestern Marion County, Florida for at least several weeks. I have been spotting one to three of them at the ranch pond where I often go to look for wildlife. The Wood Storks use that amazing big sturdy bill to hunt for fish, small frogs, tadpoles, smaller turtles, crayfish, and aquatic insects. By the way, juvenile and young adult Wood Storks have light-colored bills and the bill changes to a medium grey-brown color when the Wood Stork is older.
Wood Storks like being around marshy wetland areas, and also rural ranch ponds here in Florida and in several states along the Gulf of Mexico. They live and hunt in both brackish and fresh water areas. They seem to be social birds and roost together in groups. They also will occasionally be around larger wading birds such as the Great Egrets, the Sand Hill Cranes, and the White Ibis. I took these pictures on Dec. 19, 2014 and also on Dec. 23, 2014. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!