By MOLLY SAMUEL • FEB 15, 2016
Sometimes what scientists need to protect a threatened species is a chainsaw, some roofing material and a little bit of creativity. On the
coast, the Department of
Natural Resources is channeling MacGyver to help out a big, gawky, bald-headed
It’s a bird that hasn’t always nested in
but now that it does, scientists are working to protect it. Georgia
Wood storks aren’t exactly conventionally beautiful.
“They’ve got virtually no feathers on their neck or head, except when they’re very young,” says Tim Keyes, a biologist with the DNR. “They’ve got long sort of drooping bills. And as adults, they have kind of a black scaly look to their head and neck."
Their feathers are mostly white. Their bodies are sort of football shaped, and they’re tall – over three feet.
“In flight, from a distance, they’re actually quite attractive. The closer you get, the less attractive they appear,” says Keyes, laughing.
Keyes and a group from the DNR recently went to
, to a place where
the birds nest. Dozens of storks gather in a few big old oak trees here every year
to raise their chicks. Storks typically nest in trees that are surrounded by
water, which protects them from raccoons. But this spot on Sapelo
isn’t safe, and raccoons can wreck a wood stork colony. Sapelo Island