"I" is for Ibis

Before I begin, do you have Instagram? If you'd like to see photographs of wild Newfoundland, Canada from my month-long bird survey work all over the island, stop in and follow me! Thanks! @inkfromthequill

The first time I ever heard the word "ibis" was in my great grandmother's lap reading a tattered old alphabet book early on a Wednesday morning. I know it was a Wednesday morning because I spent every Wednesday with my great grandparents as a child. Their humble cabin-style home with the stove in the corner made for a warm quilt tossed over my young impressionable bird-learning years.

By the way, I'm still experiencing those young impressionable bird-learning years and I'm having a helluva time.

The letter "I" in the book had a photo of an ibis next to it--which I thought was pronounced "ibbiss" until I heard my grandmother say it aloud. The White Ibis isn't an overly resplendent bird. But there is something extravagant about its beet red face juxtaposed against a flawlessly white body. Here are some adults in Naples, FL.




When we drove up on these birds crossing a median, I thought they were lawn ornaments. They can stay shockingly still if they need to.

And strange as it might be, juvenile White Ibises don't have much white on them. Let's head back to Marsh Trail in the Everglades to have a look at some immature ibises.




The older the birds get, the whiter they get. They are very closely related to Roseate Spoonbills with whom they share glades and mangrove swamps (Roseate Spoonbills in The Everglades). They eat mostly crustaceans including crayfish, crabs and shrimp. They don't mind the odd frog or insect either. And the good news is that there is a healthy North American population of about 209,000 White Ibises.

We're staying put on Marsh Trail this Sunday but we're straying into songbird territory for just a moment!