Where does the title bird come from in "The Scarlet Ibis"?What does it look like?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A Scarlet Ibis is a breed of bird that comes from South America, and is particularly known to inhabit the island of Trindidad and Tobago.  The description provided by Hurst when Doodle finds the ibis is fairly accurate:

On the topmost branch perched a bird the size of a chicken, with scarlet feathers and long legs.

It is a large bird with feathery wings, a long graceful neck, and a long beak.  The color of its feathers is an orangey red, somewhat like the color of fire.  There is a link below to a picture of the bird.

This rare and beautiful bird is obviously very symbolic to the story.  Not only is it special - like Doodle - but it has been blown into an environment that is hostile to it.  This is also like Doodle.  The ibis can not survive away from its warm and welcoming homeland.  Doodle will not survive in a world that alienates and feels ashamed of his disabilities.