Mar 06 2010
Just eleven days ago I saw these birds everywhere but now I’m in Pennsylvania, way beyond their range.
White ibises are warm water wetland birds who feed in shallow, fresh or salt water and on soggy land nearby. They breed near the coast from North Carolina to Louisiana. They’re everywhere in Florida.
White ibises are very conspicuous. Their pink faces and decurved bills look almost silly as they methodically poke their beaks into water and sod. They often graze in flocks through golf courses, parks and cemeteries. They act like wind-up toys.
One of my favorite moments at work was when Rick Sebak called me down to the edit room where he and Kevin Conrad were preparing A Cemetery Special. They were editing a segment from the cemetery in Key West. While there, Rick and his crew had startled a flock of very odd-looking birds who landed on top of the tombs.
“Can you tell me what birds these are?” he asked.
In the film the birds peered at the camera nervously with pink faces that looked old and sad. They shuffled into a tighter group. They bumped into each other to avoid falling off the tombs. Then they flew off, showing their black primaries.
Steve Gosser found this one in Florida.
(photo by Steve Gosser)