FPL | Wood Stork Reproduction Habits

Wood Stork Reproduction Habits

Breeding season | 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 activities.

Sexual maturity is reached at about 4 years.

Breeding season

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.