I spent most of this morning birding the eastern part of Lake Creek Trail, starting at the Parmer Village pond and working my way upstream. Near the last dam I was excited to find a dark ibis. It was far away and I couldn't see much detail, but I think it's a juvenile White-faced Ibis which is the more common dark ibis here. It can be found in central Texas in small numbers most of the year, but is more common during spring and fall migration. It flew further upstream and almost out of sight before I could get any photos of it. It flapped periodically as it foraged, which I could still see in the distance.
Later I was able to find the bird again and approach it much closer. It was still flapping periodically and now I could see why. This bird was missing most of its right lower leg. Every time it started to take a step with its right leg it would flap its wings and hop on its left leg instead. A few inches of bare bone protruded below the swollen knee. This must have been a dramatic injury! Here is a reminder of what tough lives wild animals lead. Who knows what kind of situation caused this injury and how the bird escaped it. And there is no way for the bird to tell its story. It goes on with the priorities of life because it still can. And as long as it can still fly and the injury isn't infected, it has a good chance of surviving for many years. I hope this bird's remaining years are easier than its first!
A few more photos are available here.