Illustrator Christina Mattison Ebert shares depictions and information on coastal birds
Danger and optimism. These are two qualities Native Americans assigned to this unassuming and ubiquitous Texas Gulf Coast regular, a modestly sized wading bird that forages in shallow waters. Legend held that this species of white ibis was the last to seek shelter before a hurricane, and the first to re-emerge after its passing, thus rendering it a symbol of both impending doom and sweet hope.
American white ibises are notably sociable creatures, often spotted flocking with similar species such as egrets and herons. Their distinctive bills and black wingtips make them easy to spot both on the ground and in flight. Although common year-round on the Gulf Coast, they also are highly migratory and can traverse long distances if needed.
FUN FACT: Babies hatch with straight bills, which don’t begin to curve until about 2 weeks of age.