Wood Storks were listed on the Federal Endangered Species List in 1984. Their low population size is due to several reasons, habitat loss and pollution being among the major ones. When following the historical trends of Wood Stork population, one will easily see that their numbers diminished drastically over the second half of the century, which was characterized by rapid urban growth and infrastructure development. Thus, their numbers in southeastern United States approximated 16,000-20,000 pairs in the 1930s. By the 1960s, the species population decreased to 10,000 pairs followed by extreme diminution in the 1970s. Actually, the late 1970s showed the lowest population size ever in the history of the American Wood Stork. There were no more than 5000 pairs in southeastern U.S.
Wood Storks - Current Situation
Nowadays, the current population is about 11,000 pairs. Their numbers remain stable, yet the species is endangered in some states. The USFWS (US Fish and Wildlife Service) listed the Wood Stork as endangered in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. Although traditionally Wood Stork breeding sites were found throughout southeastern United States, they concentrate mainly in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina at present.
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Wood Storks © 2001
To protect the species, research work should be launched. The main objectives of conservation should include exploring the species' habitat and ecology, feeding requirements, threats, and effects of human activities that have a significant impact on Wood Stork population. Besides, raising public awareness of the species importance as an indicator of wetland health, the necessity of the preservation of wildlife diversity is surely vital for the bird's conservation. Biologists have devoted much attention to the issue of late and have drawn some conclusions.
Wood Storks - Major Threats
It is believed that destruction of habitat that supplies the species with necessary food is one of the basic threats. These birds need a great deal of food to feed their progeny during the nesting season. It is estimated that a Wood Stork family needs over four hundred pounds of food during a breeding season. At the same time, the portion of wetlands in South Florida has been decreased enormously in the last decade. Growing human population expands taking up species habitats and requires huge water supplies to cover their needs. Introduction of water controlling techniques has changed the cycle of wetlands and interfered with the species' feeding pattern. Thus, artificially managed hydrological regimes resulted in long droughts and rain periods, which have caused Wood Storks to experience a reproduction failure.
Therefore, wetlands and other habitats should be protected from further destruction. Water management plans should be created taking into account the effects for the Wood Stork population. Producing a mosaic of sites characterized by a low and a high water level is also a necessary condition for maintaining the species. Conservation efforts should also include further investigation of habitats suitable for Wood Storks and factors favorable for the population growth.
Wood Storks - Management Links
Comprehensive Report Species - Includes taxonomic comments, conservation status, distribution, ecology and life history, and other information.
Densities of the Endangered Wood Stork on the Floodplain - The current situation, ways to help, and expectations. PDF file.
Endangered Species - Brief information on the species and threats.
Habitat Losses - Learn more about the habitat loss, its effects on the population of the species, and preventive measures.
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USDA Forest Service © 2002
In Search of Sanctuary - As its Florida habitat disappears, the American Wood Stork, the largest wading bird, is migrating northward to new nesting grounds.
Indicator of an Endangered Everglades - Like the Wood Stork, the Everglades ecosystem is now endangered. Learn more on the issue.
Keep the Wild Alive - National Wildlife federation offers information on the species including habitat and distribution, estimated population, threats, and ways to help.
Nesting Season in Glades - Biologists state that the nesting season looks good for endangered in Glades.
Number of Wood Stork Nests - Information on nesting season and estimated Wood Stork nests by Coastal County.
Rainier Audubon Society - Article by Cheryl White informs on this endangered species.
Recovery Plan for South Florida - Information on the species and management plan. PDF file.
Satellite Tracking of Endangered Wood Storks - Internet site shows satellite tracking of endangered Wood Storks allowing students to obtain profound education. Learn details.
South Florida ESA Permitting Guidelines - Information on the current population size of the Wood Stork and links to similar pages.
Symbol of Florida's Disappearing Wetlands - Informs on correlation between the Wood Stork and Florida's wetlands.
Threatened & Endangered Species - Description and habitat of the Wood Stork.
Tracking Threatened Wood Storks by Satellite - Information on the project aimed at Wood Stork conservation.
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Valdosta State University © 2002
U.S Fish & Wildlife Service - Find description, habitat, feeding habits, reproduction information, date on range and population size, reasons for the current status, and ways to protect the species.
University of Florida - Page supplies information on Wood Stork distribution, habitat, feeding, population size and trends, and protection.
What Threatens Wood Storks? - Factors that contribute to population decrease.
Wood Stork Info Sheet - Threatened or Endangered Species Information Sheet includes Wood Stork description, habitat, and management and protection.
Wood Stork Nesting Population - Explanation of indicator, plus estimated population size along with other data.
Wood Stork Report - A newsletter dedicated to sharing information about the Wood Stork.
Wood Storks Banded at Harris Neck Refuge - Informs on the efforts of conservationists to manage the Wood Stork.
Wood Storks Grope for Wetlands - Article gives the insight on the problems connected with Wood Stork conservation.
Wood Storks in North Carolina - Description and habitat, and conservation information.