This large, American wading bird is sometimes misnamed the Wood Ibis because of a decurved bill reminiscent of the smaller yet unrelated ibis.
Other nicknames include flinthead, stonehead, and ironhead. These monikers aptly describe the stork’s prehistoric-looking head and neck that, in their featherless state, give the appearance of stone. This is the only stork with permanent breeding colonies in the United States — namely Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Otherwise, they migrate to and from the tropics and subtropics of Central and South America. Siesta Key is very fortunate to see wood storks soaring overhead on their way to and from foraging in the Key’s estuaries, mangroves, and canals or on the mainland.
You would see a stork before hearing it because the adults are very quiet, communicating with low croaking or hissing sounds. It’s easy to spot this black and white behemoth with its 6-foot wingspan, riding and gliding on thermals up to 2,000 feet! This robust bird stands almost 4 feet tall and weighs nearly 6 pounds. It can fly more than 50 miles one-way from its nesting grounds to favorite foraging sites.