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Wading Birds are a unique species of birds in South Florida and they can be distinguished by their long legs, long sharp bills and plumage of feathers covering their bodies. They use their long legs to wade through the shallow waters of shorelines, lakes, rivers, swamps and other bodies of water looking for fish to eat.
The most common and easily seen Wading Bird is the Great White Egret which is a large bird with long white neck, plump body covered with white feathers and a long yellow bill. Another common Wading Bird is the Blue Heron which is also large, has a gray-bluish body, long legs which appear like sticks and a yellow to gray bill.
One of the best natural parks and preserves that I have been to in SW Florida where you can see Wading Birds is Audubons’ Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Located in Naples, Florida, the sanctuary consists of thousands of acres of dry prairie land and swamps that provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. The Audubon Society lists 17 species of wading birds in the sanctuary including the White Ibis, Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Tri-Colored Heron, White Egret, Snowy Egret, Glossy Ibis, Wood Stork, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Roseatte Spoonbill, Limpkin and Sandhill Crane.
Wading Birds were almost hunted to extinction due to the popularity of their feathers which were worn on top of womens hats. It took an act of Congress to put them on the Endangered Species list.
I have seen and photographed many of the birds shown above near my hone in Ft. Myers at parks including the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, John Yarbrough Ten Mile Linear Park, Lakes Regional Park and the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.