Ocracoke nature, flora & fauna

Heavy rains draw wading birds into the village

White ibis in Ocracoke village after torrential storms. Photo by P.. Vankevich

White ibis in Ocracoke village after torrential rains. Photo by P.. Vankevich

By Peter Vankevich

Don’t be surprised to see white ibis in your yard feeding on worms and insects that have appeared after the last several days of heavy rain.

On Sunday, Clayton Gaskill, had a large flock his yard located on Sarah Ellen Lane, off of Silver Lake Drive. In the afternoon, they were also seen foraging in the grass around the NPS Visitor Center across from the Cedar Island/Swan Quarter ferry terminal.

White Ibis forage in the rain-soaked grass around the Ocraoke NPS Visitor Center. Photo by P. Vankevich

White Ibis forage in the rain-soaked grass around the Ocraoke NPS Visitor Center. Photo by P. Vankevich

These birds have a long, decurved bill that distinguishes this species from the egrets and herons on the island and gives them a prehistoric look. Juveniles feeding with the white-colored adults are light brown with white under parts.

For an in-depth profile on this fascinating bird including its relationship to the ancient Egyptian God known as Thoth, see the birds of Ocracoke profiles on the Ocracoke Observer’s website, or click here.