Wading bird delight
Why wading birds love fire

By definition …

Wading birds love water.

Video filmed along scenic Tamiami Trail

But in addition to wading through the shallow swamp, could they just as much (if not more) like the fire, too? Evidence from a recent prescribed burn says “yes.” The reason? My first guess was that the egrets were sick of sushi and wanted some charbroiled (or flash cooked) fish. But after further inquiry with a biologist, they suggested the birds were flocking to the higher visibility afforded by the charred landscape. Or in other words, it helped them see the water better, and the critters they were foraging for.

In a nutshell, the swamp is a flood and fire adapted ecosystem in which every square inch of flora and fauna depends on a goldilocks dosage and return interval of water and fire. So goes flood and fire, so goes the swamp — and the wading birds.

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