Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. For centuries, white storks have lived in close association with humans, constructing stick nests on roofs and chimneys of people's homes. The white stork winters in Africa and nests in Europe, returning to Europe in early spring to set up housekeeping when lambs were being born, crops were being planted, and humans were hoping for a successful growing season. The arrival of white storks was a good omen, and their choice of roofs and chimneys of human homes for their nests led to the association with human fertility and a folk tale for children about the arrival of babies. The folklore around these storks also led to their protection, although in recent years, destruction and pollution of feeding sites and other problems have caused declines in white stork numbers. We have only one native stork in North America: the wood stork, which is sometimes been called the 'wood ibis'. Our wood stork does not nest on rooftops, but instead, nests in colonies in trees in Florida swamps. Wood storks are early-nesting birds, beginning their nesting in mid-winter in South Florida, timing nesting to coincide with an abundance of food that will be available when their eggs hatch and each pair has three to five hungry mouths to feed.'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.