Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

Origin: Tropical North and South America
Sighted at: Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples, FL

I spent the night in Naples with the intention of visiting the Shy Wolf Sanctuary and then immediately heading north – but because I’m me, when I discovered there was a nearby Audubon Sanctuary, I couldn’t help but sneak in a visit before my trip to the see the wolves. I woke up super early and set out for the swamp.

The Sanctuary has a terrific boardwalk and a stunning visitor center, but more stunning was the quantity of birds that I saw! When I reached the lake bed, I spotted a huge gathering of no less than 50 or 60 birds – black vultures, ibises, cranes, egrets, and the enormous (and endangered) wood stork. Although these enormous storks have a wide range, their presence in Florida is threatened by the shrinking marshes and swamps. I felt tremendously lucky to see a few in my short time at the swamp!