White Ibises, Behind BraeBurn No. 14, January 30, 2017
White Ibises like the two in the photo are not uncommon at BraeBurn but because BraeBurn’s lakes are mostly ringed by bulkheads, there is not a lot of lakefront footage where our White Ibises like to stand and probe the muddy shoreline with their distinctive curved pink to orange beaks. But the pond behind number 14 and near the green of number 17, as well as the north end of the lake on number 18, is the perfect wading and feeding habitat for shore birds.
The White Ibis is mostly a coastal species, ranging from North Carolina south to Florida and all along the Gulf Coast. It’s a year-round resident in those coastal areas as well as at BraeBurn.
Another distinctive feature of a White Ibis, other than the obvious and large curved pink-orange bill, is its blue eyes. The bird identification website
www.whatbird.com shows that only three birds out of 944 North American
birds have blue eyes - and BraeBurn has two of the three: the White Ibis and
the Double-crested Cormorant. Actually, the Neotropic Cormorant also has
blue eyes so BraeBurn has three of the four North American blue-eyed birds.
The fourth species, the Spectacled Eider, is an arctic Alaskan coastal bird
that we will not be seeing here – until the next Ice Age!