Have you noticed groups of fairly large and beautiful white birds casually scavenging along the roadside, by a lake, maybe in your neighborhood or possibly right in your own front lawn or even right in your own back yard? These long legged white birds have a 'very' long reddish-orange downward-curved bill. It also has black wing tips but not usually seen except while in flight. You often see them scavenging around in groups of 10 or 12. Your visitor is the American White Ibis and it's often called the 'neighborhood friendly' bird.
It's often seen in coastal areas only from North Carolina around Florida and on to the southern most part of Texas. They enjoy feeding in marsh areas, in ponds, around lakeside areas, beaches and mowed lawns.........especially in the freshly mowed lawns.
If you see them wading in shallow areas by a lake....what they are looking for are small fish and they use their long beaks to search under water and to grab little snacks along the way. If they are along the roadsides or in your lawn, you may notice that they are experts at using their long beaks to stick into the soil to find other little snacks. They could find most anything there like a favorable meal of worms or insects.....and they also enjoy capturing and feeding on our little anoles which are those little lizards we see everywhere in our yards. Crayfish are its preferred food but it adjusts its diet according to their habitat and prey abundance.
During the breeding season, the White Ibis gather in huge colonies near water and build their nests. The mated male and female build their nest together....the male brings the sticks, reeds and other plant materials while the female constructs the platform in the crotch of a tree or sometimes even on the ground. She lays 2-5 eggs and the very nice thing is both parents share sitting on them. And.....they also both feed and care for their young and usually remain together for their entire life. But .......males have also been found to steal food from unmated females and also from very young Ibis during breeding season. As you now know.......their diet does consists mostly of bugs. So if you see them in your front or back lawn be thankful....the longer they stay the less bugs you'll have. That's what I call a nice, natural and a very pretty solution to bug control.