Wood Stork portrait – D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 160, 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, a little noise reduction was applied to the background
It is my opinion that Wood Storks (Mycetaria americana) do not get nearly the same exposure as other big white wading birds and even far less than the pink Roseate Spoonbill. On avian critique forums you will see the Great Egret, Snowy Egret, White Ibis and the white morph of the Reddish Egret posted over & over again. Not so with the Wood Storks.
The number of views and comments on the aforementioned big white birds on those critique forums; even when they are technically flawed, will often be double or triple of the views for a perfectly executed Wood Stork photo.
I can not begin to fathom why. It might be the “bald” head of the Wood Stork family but the far more popular mature Roseate Spoonbill has a “bald” head too so I think the fascination with them specifically has to do with the cotton candy pink plumage they sport.
Wood Storks are only member of the stork family and the largest wading bird we have in North America. They are graceful on the ground and in flight and I find the wood-like patina of the bill very intriguing. It is their unique appearance that draws me to them and inspires me to photograph the storks to the best of my skills and abilities.
This particular Wood Stork allowed me opportunities to photograph it in flight as it landed in a lagoon, while it fed and because I sat very still in the water it approached me closely enough to take some closeup images.
For my tastes… bald can be beautiful.