The Wood stork, Mycteria americana, is a fascinating and unconventionally beautiful bird. This isn’t a bright and colorful bird. It’s not particularly sleek or elegant. In fact, its plumage is usually a bit frazzled, and its head it covered in rough skin — not feathers. Like me, this species is bald. Also like me, the Wood stork is large, a bit awkward, and doesn’t really have a beautiful singing voice. It does, however, make strange hissing sounds from time to time. Yeah, this isn’t your typical bird, and that may precisely be why I love Wood storks so much.
In Florida, the Wood stork is listed as threatened. You’d never know that where I live, however. I routinely come across Wood storks when I’m off stomping about for watersnakes. This makes a lot of sense when you realize that Wood storks eat fish, amphibians, and even reptiles — especially those in the water. They tend to prefer dark bodies of water such as cypress swamps and mangroves. Funny enough, the same applies to me. I share a lot in common with the Wood stork, it seems.