Wood Stork Reproduction Habits
| First week of life | Taking
care of young
It takes about 130 to 150 days to complete the reproductive cycle,
so wood storks spend over a third of the year in breeding-related
Sexual maturity is reached at about 4 years.
As the breeding season begins, the colony resounds with the noise
of birds looking for mates and nesting sites. Once a mate has been
found, the pair builds a nest of sticks, vines, leaves and Spanish
moss. Two to five eggs are laid one to two days apart.
First week of life
The eggs hatch after 28 to 32 days. Newly hatched chicks weigh
about 2 ounces and are helpless and unable to fly. The eggs hatch
in the order in which they were laid, so nestlings differ in size
during the first few weeks.
Competition for food is fierce and, if it is scarce, only the older
chicks will survive. Week-old chicks are fed about 15 times a day
and they grow rapidly. The parents take turns guarding the nest
and flying to feeding grounds up to 80 miles away.
Taking care of young
Parents keep their young cool by shading them from the sun with
their wings and by carrying water in their throats and dribbling
it over the young chicks. By 8 weeks, the young are exercising their
wings and, by 9 weeks, are ready to leave the nest.