Natural wetlands continue to disappear due to city and human development and are being replaced with manmade swales, ponds and canals. This degradation and replacement of natural wetlands suggest that urban areas may be imperative to wetland species, especially when natural conditions are unpredictable. Wetland birds are often seen in and around cities; however, they have been largely ignored in urban wildlife studies. In their historic ranges, wetland birds inhabit dynamic marshes, traveling long distances to locate food. Yet, does their ability to forage for food in natural environments translate to their ability to do so in an urban environment?
Using the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), a large American wading bird found throughout southeastern swamps and wetlands, scientists from Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science compared city storks with natural wetland storks to gauge their success in urban environments based on their diet and food opportunities. MORE
Header image: Betsy Evans, PhD.