CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Nearly 4,000 wood stork nests were reported in South Carolina this year setting a new state record, according to state wildlife officials.

According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, 3,928 nests were counted, marking the third time in the past four years a new state mark was set.

The wading birds’ nest count is up 400 from 2021 and nearly double the recorded number a decade ago.

In 2014, wood storks were reclassified from federally endangered to federally threatened in response to increasing population growth, primarily in South Carolina.

SCNDR said that although the highest number of nests are typically found in Florida, the ACE Basin in South Carolina has one of the highest densities of wood stork colonies along the east coast.

According to SCNDR biologists, the growth in population is a “testament to the successful management of impoundments and wetlands conservation efforts in the ACE Basin” and highlights the Lowcountry’s diverse feeding habitat.

“We have this diversity of wetlands where storks can feed,” Christy Hand, wading bird biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said. “And it means that if one type of wetland is not optimal for storks, they have several different options.”

Long-term threats to the birds’ continued breeding success include invasive plant species that allow predators to raid nests for eggs, climate change, and sea live rise, officials said.