I first have a photographic record of a white ibis I named “Stumpy” on Nov. 10, 2007. It had a broken right leg that was twisted and extended forward in an awkward position and hopped on its one good left leg while foraging behind the flock. It obviously had trouble keeping up with the flock but was not giving up. On August 11, 2009, I saw what appeared to be this same ibis in our yard with an obvious broken right leg – see photo) and was amazed that it had survived so long. This spoke well for the fortitude of this bird and the remarkable fact that it could still live with only one functional leg.
Today (Feb. 11, 2010) I saw an ibis foraging near a flock in our yard with a broken leg and thought, WOW, here is Stumpy back again! But when I looked closer (see photo inset) I noticed that this white ibis has a broken left leg instead of the right, and the type of break is different (the leg is dangling). So here is another crippled ibis (named Stumpy Jr.) who is continuing to survive despite the odds. This is another interesting commentary on the ability of a few animals to survive despite what we would assume are mortal injuries.
I find this awe inspiring but also scientifically interesting in the sense that a bird of this type can use its beak for feeding, remaining leg for short distance movement, and wings for movement over longer distances to compensate for the loss of one leg.
Bill Dunson, Englewood, FL & Galax, VA