Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wood Stork

I just learned that a bird that is considered very rare this far north was spotted on Ocracoke recently. Carol Pahl noticed the wood stork on Monday, and made the photos below. She heard that Mark Justice has also seen the bird, and that it has been here a couple of days. I'm not sure when the last sighting of this species may have been, but Carol told me she heard that old time islanders used to eat them. That doesn't surprise me. Old timers ate ducks, geese, beach birds, and even song birds. When you live on a tiny barrier island, and you're hungry, those birds look tasty!

The wood stork is a big bird - about 40" tall and with a wingspan of 61" Carol points out that this is a juvenile probably a bit over a year old. When they are fully adult they loose all their orange coloration and have a black head and neck.

You can click on any photo to see a larger image (I think the curious cat had better be careful!).

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous8:53 AM

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. What a neat looking bird. Too funny with the cat in the picture.

  2. Anonymous10:21 AM

    I love cats and have 2 of them myself, but it pains me to see a cat stalking this beautiful bird (or any other bird). While I realize that Ocracoke has a large feral cat population, I do urge residents to keep their non-feral cat population indoors - all the time. That goes from all cat owners, not just Ocracoke residents.

  3. Anonymous12:26 PM

    Are the rumors true? We're hearing that there was a meeting at the Community Center recently to discuss implementing tolls on the Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry. (We've heard $10 each way for tourists, $100 monthly for locals)

    I can't believe this would actually happen. Tell us its not true!

  4. Anonymous1:43 PM

    There is no free lunch. fuel costs are rising pay as you go or don't go.

  5. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Cat yes there is a cat funny humph! the trash and yes there is trash in these photos is not funny at all. How can OI folk allow the waterways to be trashed up so?? it is truly an eyesore

  6. where was the bird seen....I agree about the trash.

  7. Yes, there was a meeting, and there was discussion about implementing tolls on ferries. Please keep in mind that there was decisions. But, it's best to stay informed. Here is an article which discusses this issue:

  8. Re. trash in the photos: I'm not sure where these pictures were taken, but trash is a problem everywhere, not just on Ocracoke. Trash along the highways and elsewhere is not always intentional. We have periodic litter pick ups on Ocracoke (some official, some organized, others individual), but sometimes it's very difficult to get to trash deep in thickets, or on opposite sides of wetlands and waterways.

  9. debbie s.3:28 PM

    what great pics! Thanks for sharing Phillip!

  10. Julie S.7:17 PM

    What great pictures. Thanks to Carol for taking them and Phillip for sharing them. Will you let us know if this bird stays around?

  11. I will let you all know if the wood stork stays around for a while. But I haven't heard any more about it.

  12. Anonymous9:44 AM

    you can get your wood stork fix for a view of beautiful photography at Dominic Martino photography on the web google to see how the late Dominic Martino documented the wildlife in north central Florida

  13. Anonymous5:15 PM

    Love the pictures....especially of the cat and the bird. I really don't believe the bird was in danger. That long, sharp beak would be able to protect it from that cat.

    Re: Trash, oh boy, don't get me started. Philip is correct. The trash issue is a serious and ever-growing problem. HATE IT! I'm often on my local rural road in Person County, NC picking up trash and have been doing it for 29 years. It's horrible and getting completely out of hand. I'm from VA and have noticed that the 2.5 hours drive from my home to my mother's house is usually less trash on the highways. However, NC is awful. #264 I-85, I-95, I-40, all are nasty. It's a disgrace!