SREL Reprint #2919




Threatened and Endangered Species: Wood Stork

A. Lawrence Bryan, Jr.

Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, PO Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802

Abstract: The American wood stork (Mycteria americana) was classified as a federally endangered species in 1984 due to population declines thought to result from loss of wetland foraging habitats (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1986, 1996). It is a frequent summer and fall visitor to wetlands of the Savannah River Site (SRS), particularly the swamp system along the Savannah River (SRSS), Carolina bays, and other ephemeral wetlands. Storks typically use these wetlands as foraging sites, preying primarily on fish. Storks generally occur in small flocks (of fewer than fifteen) on the SRS, although large aggregations (of more than one hundred) appear when foraging conditions are ideal.
Three wood stork breeding colonies exist within 50 km (31 mi) of the SRS, but storks do not breed on SRS. Two colonies, Birdsville and Chew Mill Pond, in Jenkins County, Georgia, typically have a combined total of
300 to 350 stork nests. The Jacobson’s Landing colony in Screven County, Georgia, is less consistent than the other colonies. It averages only thirty to forty nests in good hydrologic years when sufficient rain maintains water underneath the nest trees to limit predation by raccoons.

SREL Reprint #2919

Bryan, A. L., Jr. 2005. Threatened and Endangered Species: Wood Stork. pp. 289-294 In J. C. Kilgo and J. I. Blake (Eds.). Ecology and Management of a Forested Landscape: Fifty Years on the Savannah River Site. Island Press.

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