Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cypress Trees and Woodstorks

Wood storks nest in cypress trees such as these. Their nests are about three feet across and are fifty to sixty feet up in the air.

Wood storks almost became extinct before being listed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species List in 1984. In the 1930s, more than 60,000 wood storks inhabitated the United States. But development, destruction of habitat and other factors reduced their population to about 4,500 breeding pairs by 1980 They are magnificent birds to watch while flying and are only rivaled by Sandhill Cranes in their flying magnificence, in my opinion. They are said to fly as high as six thousand feet up...

I have seen small flocks of Sandhill Cranes in the marshes in Pasco county in the spring as well as bald eagles and redtailed hawks. Bald eagles are excellent soarers and stay very high up.

I have recently seen as many as ten wood storks flying on Lake Munson and I am told there are more. If you look closely at these cypress trees you can see the pink eggs of apple snails. The snails come out at night to lay these trails of pink eggs on the cypress knees. (I did not take this wood stork picture. Apologies to it's author and I do not intend to benefit commerically from this image. )

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