Compared to the handsome storks of Europe in Hans Christian Andersen’s story and those that carried us in a natal cradle, American Wood Storks look like old countrymen with bald, wrinkly heads exposed to too much sun. A featherless head is more hygienic for dipping into muddy wetlands, the same as for vultures bobbing in rotting carcasses. Storks and vultures are far more graceful in the air than on the ground, often circling in the same thermal.
Wood Storks are rarities in Virginia, but found year-round in Florida and other south-eastern states during migration. Inge saw this one in Texas.