Wood Storks Do Not Like Helicopters!

Yesterday evening there was a large group of wood storks sitting in pine trees along the edge of the salt marsh. Looking north along the coast I could see two big helicopters approaching from off in the distance and I knew what that meant. The wood storks heard the helicopters way before I did and as is the usual case, they flew off in a total panic as the choppers got closer. Wood Storks are absolutely terrified of helicopters and will always immediately leave as a group at the first sign of one flying into their area. Most of the other birds including the spoonbills, do not seem to care at all and basically ignore all close flying aircraft.

I knew there was one young spoonbill in among the wood storks back in the trees and it took off with the storks probably confused about why we all had to suddenly leave in a huge panic. But the spoonbill figured there must be a good reason so it went along with the crowd. I keyed in on the spoonie as it flew off along with the storks and followed the youngster as it flew across the pines. 

Wood Storks Panic and Fly

Wood Storks Panic and Fly

Wood Storks Panic and Fly

Wood Storks Panic and Fly

Wood Storks Panic and Fly

31 thoughts on “Wood Storks Do Not Like Helicopters!

  1. The wood storks definitely look rattled. Their legs alone tell the story! The spoonie mixed in makes for such a nice composition to my eye.

  2. It is a universal problem, the conflict between man and wildlife. We see the same on our mudflats when ‘hovercraft’ / zodiacs or low flying small aircraft appear when the birds are feeding. Yes it gives us nice flight shots but it is not good for the birds.

    • Interestingly, it is mostly just the wood storks that are bothered by the aircraft, but in any case is not good for the birds and I am against anything that will force them to do something they did not wish to do even if it means me getting good photos.

  3. Panic is so infectious, isn’t it, Phil? Living near the SAS base, we are used to the lowflying helicopters, as are the birds and animals but a lowflying Chinook will send everything off at the run – even the ground trembles! Poor spoonie but great pictures!

    • They do often have a flock mentality and sometimes all it takes is for one bird to suddenly panic for unknown reasons and it can cause the entire crowd to follow suit. If I see a group of small waders such as snowys and ibis all take off quickly I scan the sky above for an eagle as that is frequently the cause.

  4. Interesting position especially at take off of the wood storks with the head down position. I’ve read that an eagle will even take on a GBH… any thoughts on that?

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