Doodle spots the ibis first and when Brother goes out to investigate, he notes that the bird is perched "precariously" (unbalanced) and that its wings were hanging loosely. The ibis is on the highest branch. As a feather drifts down from the bird, Mama notes that it looks scared and Daddy adds that it might be sick. Then the ibis begins to flutter, moving its wings awkwardly until it plummets to the ground, landing with a loud thud. The ibis makes one more desperate motion and then dies on the ground:
Its long, graceful neck jerked twice into an S, then straightened out, and the bird was still. A white veil came over the eyes and the long white beak unhinged. Its legs were crossed and its clawlike feet were delicately curved at rest.
Using the bird book as a reference, Daddy determines that it is an ibis and that a storm must have blown the ibis off course. Following the ordeal with the storm and faced with this new, foreign environment, the ibis is too weak to fly and the fall finally is too much.
The ibis is a parallel character to Doodle. Both Doodle and the ibis do not quite fit in their respective environments. They struggle and suffer. Both will endure hardships and a storm. The color "red" (scarlet) of the ibis and the "bleeding" tree are symbolic and foreshadowing elements of what will become of Doodle.