According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission it’s rare, but Wood Storks (Mycteria americana) do occasionally visit the Keys. In fact, they say the Wood stork is observed in the Keys fewer than ten times per year. Their diet is small fish, crayfish, amphibians, and reptiles. The only stork to breed in the U.S. is usually found further north in the shallow wetlands of Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. The Garden’s stork visitor can be found in and near our fresh water pond. Maybe he’s here to bring in the New Year?
The wood stork is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is also protected as a Threatened species by the Federal Endangered Species Act and as a Federally-designated Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule External Website. The wood stork was reclassified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on June 30, 2014, from Endangered to Threatened.