The Ecology and Health of White Ibis in Urban Florida

Two University of Georgia wildlife researchers will discuss findings from ongoing research into the ways urban habitats are impacting the American White Ibis in a presentation at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Postdoctoral research associate Maureen Murray and graduate research associate Shannon Curry will speak on “The Ecology and Health of White Ibis in Urban Florida.” They will give an overview of UGA’s White Ibis Project, an interdisciplinary research initiative led by Sonia Hernandez, an associate professor with the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

The White Ibis, a medium-size wading bird, increasingly is finding places to live in urbanized regions of south Florida. City habitats offer abundant food resources for these birds, but urban life may affect their health through stress, crowding, lower-quality food and exposure to novel pathogens. Researchers with UGA’s Hernandez Wildlife Disease Lab have been examining the movements, diet and health of the these birds in the White Ibis Project since 2009; Murray and Curry will provide an update on research results and give a status report on the expanded current phase of the project.

The meeting will be held in the Nature Center’s Education and Visitor Center, 205 Old Commerce Road off U.S. Highway 441 north of Athens. To reach the center from the Loop 10 bypass, exit at U.S. Highway 441/Commerce Road and turn north toward Commerce. Go approximately a mile, turn left at the Sandy Creek Nature Center sign and go to the end of the road. Turn left at Old Commerce Road; parking for the Education and Visitor Center will be on the right.