As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Georgia Scientists Get Creative To Protect A Threatened Bird

By MOLLY SAMUEL • FEB 15, 2016
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE SOUTHEAST

Sometimes what scientists need to protect a threatened species is a chainsaw, some roofing material and a little bit of creativity. On the Georgia coast, the Department of Natural Resources is channeling MacGyver to help out a big, gawky, bald-headed bird. 

It’s a bird that hasn’t always nested in Georgia, but now that it does, scientists are working to protect it.

Wood storks aren’t exactly conventionally beautiful.

WoodStorkWhole.JPG“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 Sapelo Island, 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 Island isn’t safe, and raccoons can wreck a wood stork colony.


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