A tall wading bird, the Wood Stork has a massive wingspan. The Wood Stork is the sole stork that breeds in North America. The US Fish and Wildlife service considers them Federally threatened because of their small breeding and living area. Wetland water level changes make them vulnerable since they search for prey by feeling with their beak. Wood Storks have an uncommon appearance, featuring a bald scaly head, long beak, long legs, and a body shaped like a football. This one enabled me to capture a close head shot in the evening light.
Decreasing scrub oak habitat has caused this stunning blue Florida Scrub-Jay to be uncommon and listed as endangered. The only place this bird calls home is Florida. The entire group will change location if the low-growing scrub oaks reach a certain height. They form permanent monogamous bonds, and live in family groups. Until they find a territory of their own, the young remain and assist with feeding their siblings for several years. It’s typical for them to establish their own family territory near their hatching area. Each group has a sentinel bird appointed to guard against predators. This Scrub-Jay was acting as the sentinel perched on this small branch. The sentinel emits a distinct call when they perceive danger, signaling the rest of the family group to take cover.
A pair of Northern Gannets caught my attention as they were flying over the ocean near Machias Seal Island, which is 12 miles away from Grand Manan, New Brunswick. Colonies of these large and graceful seabirds breed on steep slopes or rocky cliffs of oceanic islands. They spend their remaining time on the sea. Northern Gannets are lifelong monogamous mates. I captured this image in mid June during breeding season, so I assume this pair is a couple.
The Pied-Billed Grebe in breeding colors has a black stripe on its beak and a black throat patch which makes them unique. This Pied-Billed Grebe’s call alerted me to its presence long before I saw it. I noticed the Pied-Billed Grebe in the middle of the pond with its beak open, revealing the source of the sound. They are small and chunky and have almost no tail. Pied-Billed Grebes typically dive for food, but they may also chase other birds during breeding season while keeping just their eyes and nostrils above water.
This male Northern BobWhite was likely foraging for food as he scurried through the field. Northern BobWhite hunt on the ground for seeds, leaves, or insects, searching for food visually. This BobWhite seemed to freeze when I spotted him as if to say “If I hold still I will be invisible”. The reason for this immobile behavior is most likely to avoid being detected by potential predators. I appreciated the brief moment he gave me to snap his picture.