Beautiful birds but a sad ending

Tricolored herons are always fun to watch. They are really pretty when they are ready to mate. I mean, how many other animals have their legs turn from gray to bright pink in the spring?

Snowy egrets are always making a fuss.

The great egrets were also showing off with those red eyes.

This is a sad story but happens in nature. There was a nest near the boardwalk with three almost grown babies that had apparently been abandoned by the parents. Maybe something happened to the lone parent? Meanwhile, a mean adult snowy egret decided it wanted that nest instead of building her own and she was going to steal it from the babies. She spent all morning trying to push the babies off the nest. One had been poked in the face and was bleeding. The sad thing is that if the original parents did not come back, those 3 babies were probably going to starve. They are too young to feed themselves. They were sticking together and fighting off the intruder. She eventually left that morning but may have come back later to try again. Gatorland won’t interfere because it’s common for this to happen in nature. I’ve seen it happen before in a park where we couldn’t reach the nest. It’s a tough life out there for these birds.

Teeny tiny baby birds

The tiniest babies a the park, these snowy egrets were only a day or two old. Mom was sitting on them most of the morning but she stood up to stretch for a few minutes.

A few other nests had babies that were a few days older.

This baby was getting big.

Across the lake, baby great egrets were just waking up.

I did not make it over to Gatorland in Orlando last year so I made a trip in early April this spring. Most of the baby birds at the bird rookery were great egrets and snowy egrets. The cattle egrets and tricolored herons were just sitting on eggs. The morning went by fast as the birds were feeding the babies and flying by with sticks for the nests. All too quickly it was almost lunch time and the birds were settling down for mid-day naps.

Photographing New Zealand

Watching baby egrets growing up.

Baby egrets at varies ages all trying to learn how to use their wings. It’s cool how you can really see the outline of their wings and the pin feathers when they are that young.

Older baby egrets were attacking mom when she came back to the nest to feed them. Mom regurgitates the fish back up into the baby’s beak. The babies don’t have much patience to wait their turn and they all attack her at the same time. It’s amazing an eye doesn’t get poked.

Wild zoo babies

An almost grown great egret scratching. This one must be one of the first ones born at the zoo this spring. He still had just a little bit of baby fuzz on his head.

Very young little blue herons were waiting to be fed.

Baby little blue herons that were a little older but not yet flying.  They were in lots of different stages of growing up.

Screaming “Feed Me” in Mom’s ear.

Two baby great egrets still on the nest waiting for a parent to fly in with food.

My favorite part of Lowry Park  Zoo in Tampa is the bird rookery at the alligator exhibit. It’s much smaller than the one at Gatorland but it’s close to home.  The wild birds come in and nest right in front of the exhibit.  While all of the kids are oohing and aahing over the alligators I am busy trying to get shots of the baby birds.

Linking to Wednesday Around The World.

A few birds at Chesnut Park

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The usual titmouse were all over the park.

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Cardinal families were all over the park. Lots of very young ones born this spring. The young ones look scruffy with their adult feathers coming in.

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There were also Carolina wrens everywhere.

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The best find was the great crested flycatcher families. I saw two different ones at opposite ends of the park.  Both had juveniles that didn’t quite have their adult feathers in. I don’t see these often. They stayed high up in the trees and don’t get close to look for a handout like the resident birds do.

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Yummy fish for breakfast

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Young great egrets are being fed by mom. The parents swallow the fish and then regurgitate the fish back up into the baby’s beak. Doesn’t that sound yummy?

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A young cormorant was begging mom to feed him.

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The youngest babies at the park that day. They are 1 or 2 day old snowy egrets. The parents were going to be busy feeding 3 babies. You can just barely see the fish eyes coming out of the mom’s beak. Looks like she had a beak full of minnows.

All morning long the babies yell to be fed. The tiny ones like in the last pictures aren’t so bad since they are so small and don’t quite know what’s going on yet. The bigger babies such as the top great egret pictures are obnoxious. They are really loud and flap their wings until they are fed. When the parent flies over to the nest they attack them. The parents keep feeding them though. All of the above were from my trip to Gatorland in May.

They grow up so fast.

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Scruffy looking baby egrets. I think these were snowy egrets.

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Baby blue herons sticking close together.

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Baby anhingas already grown up.

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Tiny baby wood stork on the nest.

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Baby great egrets in various stages of growing up.

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I was watching this almost grown baby great egret exercising his wings. I don’t think he had fledged yet. He kept practicing flapping but never made it off the bush. He was probably gone in another day or so.

It’s fun watching the baby birds grow up in the bushes along the lake at Gatorland.  The trip in late May provided babies from all stages of growing up.

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