The dead ibis is supposed to be symbolic for Doodle in death in the story. Both look much the same and the ibis being red is supposed to symbolize the blood streaming from the side of Doodle's mouth. They are both beautiful creatures and no one really understands why either had to die. They look frail in both life and death. Doodle feels a connection with the scarlet ibis because it looks different and it's dead. It's almost as if young Doodle feels this connection as a foreshadowing to his own young death and he identifies with the fact that the bird is different from other birds just as he is different from other people.