I is for Ibis
This fabulous photo of a feeding sacred ibis was taken by Jeremy Thompson on Flikr. I only found two photos of such an excellence to illustrate the poem and post, the other is further down! Neither are creative commons and are used by permission.
Sacred ibis are large wading birds, with beautiful white (but black edged, seen when in flight) feathers, and naked black necks, beaks, and legs.
They came by their name as they were considered the embodiment of the God Thoth in ancient Egypt. Thoth was often represented with a human body and ibis head, and was the God of wisdom, knowledge, words and writing.
Thoth being also associated with the moon, it is thought that the curved beak of the ibis reflected the crescent moon, and the ibis’ white and black feathers represented the white flames of wisdom and the darkness of knowledge.
They also afforded the people of Egypt protection – they fed on and kept down the population of a certain water snail that carried a liver parasite, and the birds appeared just before the annual floods arrived, serving as warning.
Even nowadays ibis are helpful to farmers as they rid crops of pests – but then they are also at risk from pesticide use.
Sadly, sacred ibis are now extinct in Egypt, due to habitat destruction, poaching and insecticide use, but they are very adaptable and will even scavenge to find food where it is available on rubbish tips, and this adaptability is ensuring their success in other areas.
Ibis are gregarious birds and live in flocks of 20 or more.
Here is the other wonderful sacred ibis photo, taken by Michael E Leay-Owhin, also on Flikr, used by permission.
the ibis chick
long black legs
to carry it
long black toes
to grasp the creek
long black beak
curved to make
of the ibis
in the lake.
© Liz Brownlee
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Image by Jeremy Thompson on Flikr, used by permission.
Prose and Poem © Liz Brownlee, all rights reserved, not to be used in any manner whatsoever without the permission of the author.