Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The most stunning of Florida Ibises is the scarlet ibis, a bird that is historically known from our state as a wanderer from northern South America. This two foot tall brilliant scarlet wader with a long, thin, curved bill is known for its wandering and it’s still seen with some regularity in Florida. However, the origin of scarlet ibises seen today in Florida is questionable. Scarlett ibises are often kept in zoos and theme parks, and occasionally escape to join wild flocks of white ibises. In addition, in 1961, 22 eggs of scarlet ibises were taken from nests in the Caroni Swamp of Trinidad and flown to Florida. There, they were placed in nests of white ibises. The white ibises raised some of the scarlet young and those young, imprinted on their white ibis foster parents, joined white ibis flocks and interbred with them. Most scarlet ibises seen in Florida today are probably hybrids between scarlet and white ibises. Scarlett and white ibises are very closely related, and some authorities consider them to be color phases of the same species.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.