Posts Tagged: Florida

Wood Stork

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Close view of Wood Stork head and neck in evening light (sandra calderbank/

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. 

The Florida Scrub-Jay Sentinel

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Florida Scrub-Jay perched as sentinel (sandra calderbank/

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.

Pied-Billed Grebe with beak open, calling

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Pied-Billed Grebe in breeding colors swimming with beak open calling (sandra calderbank/

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.


Male Blue-Winged Teal swimming in evening light

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 (sandra calderbank/

A stunning Male Blue-Winged Teal was captured on camera swimming in a South Florida pond during late evening light. These small ducks dabble by dipping their bill into the water and tipping their tail up to reach vegetation, aquatic insects, and crustaceans.. The Blue-Winged Teal is found in great numbers throughout much of North America. The Male and Female Blue-Winged Teal differ significantly in their appearance. A blue patch can be seen on her forewing, while the rest of her body is a dull mottled brown.


Black-Bellied Whistling-Ducks with Ducklings

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Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck swimming with ducklings (sandra calderbank)



I caught sight of a couple of Black-Bellied Whistling-Ducks with Ducklings in a freshwater pond in Vero Beach, Florida. These tree ducks are called Black-Bellied Whistling ducks and they have bright orange bills and legs. Their nesting habit involves trees, cavities, nest boxes, and occasional ground scrapes. They’re one of two types of Whistling Ducks in North America and they make a whistling sound while flying. The young ducklings are tended by both parents until they can fly and fend for themselves, usually around 2 months old.