Clumsy yet graceful, odd-looking yet beautiful--thus we describe the Anhinga. A warm-habitat water bird, sometimes called the “Water Turkey” or “Snake Bird”, these large birds hunt prey by gliding beneath the surface of the water. There they pursue small fish-- weaving their way through tangled vegetation and spearing them with large, sharp bills. Their black and silver feathers do not have water-proofing like a duck or goose, so the Anhinga must climb from the water’s edge, find a suitable perch and open their wings to dry. Although clumsy on land they are superb long-distance flyers and, with wing spans of almost four feet, they are often seen soaring high in the sky in large flocks. Their preferred method of long-distance flight is gliding, and they soar overhead on thermals, much the way turkey vultures do. This male appears oily-black as he climbs from a Florida Everglades backwater pool. As he dries off, however, his true colors are revealed and he is stunning. Such is the Anhinga- a bird of contradictions.

Music: “Memories” PacDV

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