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

“Don’t poke my eye out”

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More pictures from my stop at the bird rookery in north Tampa back in June. These are all great egrets. Most of the baby egrets were already grown up and almost as big as the adults. They were still being fed by their parents and most were probably flying soon after I took these pictures. The babies, even though they look fully grown, still have a little bit of fuzz on the top of their heads. They are very aggressive when the parents fly in to feed them. I feel bad for them having to regurgitate fish up to feed to the screaming kids who look like they are trying to attack them.

Late post on babies

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Baby anhingas from June.

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Younger anhingas begging Dad to feed them.

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He’s trying to ignore the three babies. He’s probably hoping Mom is coming back soon with food.

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Actually, it looks like Dad was just waiting for his food to regurgitate back up so he can feed them.

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These parents have it rough. I wonder if the babies ever poke the parents in the throat.

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“I’m next.” says the other one.

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The muscovy ducks were working on a family.

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“Here’s a thank you kiss Honey.”

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A few nests had older great egret babies that were still being fed by the parents.

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I had forgotten to post these pictures of the anhinga babies from June. I had driven up north of Tampa to a neighborhood that had a small lake with a mangrove island in the middle. I had heard about stork island, where the wood storks were raising their babies and finally made the drive up. The island is in the middle of the lake so these are all extremely cropped. It was a challenge to see through all of the branches. It was great to see anhingas nesting there as well. I’ve only seen them nest at Gatorland. I’ll try to get up there earlier next year.

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The crazy baby birds at Gatorland.

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Baby tricolored heron babies hiding in the bushes. These are the fun babies to watch.

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Look at those faces! They were screaming for Mom to feed them.

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What was this one thinking? He’s thinking “Man, I need some hair gel.”

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These two looked bored. Look at those long yellow feet.

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The front one is thinking “Save me, please!”

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Proud parent trying to sleep. These guys were actually pretty quiet.

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Two to three-day old great egrets. I don’t know what Mom was feeding them.

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“Come on Mom, we’re hungry”.

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This one is about ready to go, or at least he thinks he is. He’s thinking “That’s it. If Dad doesn’t bring home McDonald’s for lunch, I’m outta here.”

On my last visit to Gatorland for the season in late May, the baby tricolored herons were just getting big enough to be funny. They all have that crazy, feathers sticking up everywhere look. They are very animated and even when they are quiet, they have a personality. There were also a few late baby great egrets as well. The season starts to wind down in mid-June. All of the babies start to leave the nests. Then the parents take off until next spring.

A day in the life of a baby egret.

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The Three Stooges were very animated at Gatorland during my earlier trip in April. These baby great egrets were the most photographed nest on the day. Mostly, because they were so visible and the babies were constantly moving and checking things out. Not to mention how loud they were, constantly chirping for mom to feed them. The best thing was when they stretched their wings. You could see their pin feathers growing underneath. In the last picture, you can see how skinny the bones look. These babies still have a lot of growing to do before that first flight. Although, by now they are probably long gone.

Hungry baby great egrets

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“Mom, when are we going to eat breakfast?”

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“No really Mom, I’m hungry. When is Dad coming back with fish?”

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“Don’t ignore me, Mom.”

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“I’m going to start having a flapping fit if we don’t eat soon.”

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“I’ll just eat your tail feathers.”

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“Yuk, this doesn’t taste good.”

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“What is that big long scaly thing swimming around?”

Mornings at the bird rookery at Gatorland are busy with birds getting breakfast for the little ones.  I kept an eye on this nest for a while. It wasn’t until late in the morning that the other parent brought in food and they were fed quickly. There was a big crowd over there so I missed the feeding shots. I did get some of another nest so those will be coming soon. It’s fun watching the little ones checking mom and each other out. They seem so curious. But they grow up fast. This family will be fully grown by my next visit which is hopefully mid to late May.

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Baby great egrets being fed.

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“You’re stepping on my toes!!!”

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“Mom, where’s my fish?!!!”

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“MOM!!!!”

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“Seriously mom, we’re starving.”

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“Dad’s here with the food.”

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“Who’s first to eat Dad’s regurgitated fish?”

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“Yum!”

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“I need a napkin to wipe my beak.”

These were the two most popular babies of the day. The nest was in the front. Not too many twigs sticking out. The babies were up moving around for a while the morning I was at Gatorland. There were about 10 of us photographers huddled together to get the best view of the nest. Not to mention it was a bit chilly out in mid-March when I went. Baby egrets are one of the few baby birds that look just like their parents when they are young. Many other birds are born with different color feathers that change when they molt in their first year. Blue herons are born completely white and don’t turn blue until later. White ibis are born with brown feathers. Bald eagles don’t get their white head and tails until they are almost 5 years old.  Baby egrets have a funny look to them but I think it’s because their beaks are disproportionate to the rest of their body until they grow up. Their eyes seem to be animated as well. They were a lot of fun to watch being fed even though I couldn’t get a clear shot of the food (don’t you want to see regurgitated fish?). Maybe on my next trip.

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