KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The only native stork in North America, which lives in Tennessee for part of the summer, may soon be delisted from the Endangered Species list according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
According to a tweet shared by the Department, the potential delisting of the Wood Stork reflects a successful conservation and recovery effort that spans four decades.
The Wood Stork mainly live in Florida, some areas of southeast Georgia, and a small corner of South Carolina near Georgia Board and the coast according to the National Audubon Society. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency says that occasionally between mid-July and September, the storks can be found in marshes, shallow ponds and mudflats in Tennessee.
Notable markings of the bird are its dark head and beak as well as the black markings on the edge of its wings. Growing to a little over three feet long, the bird has a 61-inch wingspan but only weighs around 5 pounds according to TWRA.
The population of Wood Storks has declined since the 1960s because of water management practices in South Florida and the loss of habitat in the Everglades, TWRA said. While that timeframe was around five to six decades ago, the living Wood Storks may only be a few generations removed from those that were alive in the ’60s. According to TWRA, the Wood Stork can live for between 20 and 30 years.