The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed the US breeding population of Wood Storks (Mycteria americana) as endangered in 1984. The USFWS is currently considering reclassifying the wood stork to threatened. Breeding effort has increased over the past 15 years in the northern portion of its range, while nesting continues to decrease in South Florida, which historically supported over 70% of the nation’s nesting.
Audubon has conducted a Wood Stork foraging study which documented foraging events over the course of two nesting seasons (2006-07 and 2008-09). Data analysis revealed that wet prairies are particularly important to Wood Storks early in the nesting season.
Mapping of foraging locations revealed that 79% of the foraging occurred on private lands in the critical early months of the nesting season. Supporting earlier nesting is critical to recovery efforts for wood stork. This suggests that conservation efforts must involve protecting the foraging values on private lands.
Shallow wetlands have been lost disproportionately compared to deep wetlands. Within the Core Foraging Area for Corkscrew Swamp’s wood stork colony, wet prairies have been reduced 82%, compared to just over 41% for all wetland combined.
For more information on the Wood Storks' status, please visit here.