A smoke like fog swirls over the Broward in the golden morning light as a solitary Great Blue Heron patiently awaits the warming sun. Other birds are gathering too. What is a gathering? There are many synonyms; collection, congregation, meeting, bunch, flock, rally, swarm, get-together, and social function to name a few. For the past few years a flock of juvenile White Ibis have gathered in our local neighborhood about this time of year. What is different about this years’ event is they have chosen my back yard as a prime gathering place on the river.
The juvenile White Ibis are still brown or mottled with some white wing feathers showing. The adults are all white with black wingtips and pinkish red long curved beaks. These Ibis feed and forage on insects, seeds, and crabs in small flocks of about 20-30 birds. They move from one yard to another seemingly oblivious to passing cars and people for the most part. I can slowly approach them quite close for photographic opportunities without seeming to bother them. On a recent morning the Ibis were a few houses down, heading in my direction, so I decided to lay down in the driveway while they walked right by me across the road. Suddenly they stopped and headed right for me. About that time I felt a bump on my rear as one had apparently walked right over my back.
The Snowy Egrets and Little Blue and Tricolored Herons have also been frequenting the banks of the Broward. I know it is Florida but for us Sunbelt dwellers, when it gets near freezing even the birds seem cold. Yet they continue to gather at the river each day and they are rewarded from the bounty of the Broward and straight from the hand of God. It assures me we will be taken care of too. Be Blessed. Harry