Wood storks and great egrets were flying into the bird rookery in north Tampa non-stop in late May. They were bringing more nesting material but mostly food for all of those screaming babies. It was loud to stand there in the late afternoon as those big growing babies were ready to eat. And they let everyone know it.
There were still a lot of young wood storks honking for food.
The almost grown baby great egrets were really aggresive. These parents have a tough job. Getting fish, then swallowing that fish, then regurgitating it back up to feed the baby.
If you look closely at the beaks you can see fish parts coming down from the parent’s beak and into the baby’s beak. All while big brother is trying to get a bite as well. That does not look yummy.
Even after they are fed, they still yell for more food.
I headed back to the bird rookery in north Tampa in mid-May for a quick trip out of the house. I figured most of the baby birds were grown up and they were, including the big baby egrets above. They were still waiting for Mom to come home with dinner.
I don’t think Mom was ready to get back to the nest. She stopped close by and took a break.
There were still a lot of cattle egrets in breeding colors but I didn’t see any babies. They usually nest much farther into the bushes.
The anhinga on the right was keeping an eye on the wood stork, making sure he didn’t get too close.
A few of the other birds included a little blue heron, a young night heron and a tricolored heron.
The anhingas were farther back on the little island. Mom was feeding an almost grown baby in the shot above. That doesn’t look comfortable having the baby stick it’s head down her throat.
The baby muscovy ducks were almost grown as well. They saw me get out of my car and came swimming over. “Sorry guys, no handouts from me.”
Baby great egrets were screaming for Mom to feed them.
The sky over the Tampa rookery was busy in early April. It was like standing at the airport during the holidays watching the planes take off.
The cormarants and anhingas are usually high up in the trees but I saw this anhinga sitting on a nest low on the other side of the rookery.
There were many other birds at the rookery besides the usual egrets and herons. A night heron, a female red winged blackbird and a catbird were also sighted. I was excited to see the glossy ibis here in the bottom picture but it looked like the couple was working on a nest on the backside of the rookery so seeing little glossy babies is a slim chance.
It’s that time of the year again. Where the bushes over ponds are loud with baby great egrets screaming for food. The north Tampa rookery had a few families that were already making a lot of noise.
These little babies have a lot of personality and are very loud for their size.
I was able to catch Mom feeding the baby and it looks like he got a good size piece of regurgitated fish from her. It’s amazing how big the food is when they swallow it. He got that piece down with no problem.
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.
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.
He’s trying to ignore the three babies. He’s probably hoping Mom is coming back soon with food.
Actually, it looks like Dad was just waiting for his food to regurgitate back up so he can feed them.
These parents have it rough. I wonder if the babies ever poke the parents in the throat.
“I’m next.” says the other one.
The muscovy ducks were working on a family.
“Here’s a thank you kiss Honey.”
A few nests had older great egret babies that were still being fed by the parents.
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.
Baby tricolored heron babies hiding in the bushes. These are the fun babies to watch.
Look at those faces! They were screaming for Mom to feed them.
What was this one thinking? He’s thinking “Man, I need some hair gel.”
These two looked bored. Look at those long yellow feet.
The front one is thinking “Save me, please!”
Proud parent trying to sleep. These guys were actually pretty quiet.
Two to three-day old great egrets. I don’t know what Mom was feeding them.
“Come on Mom, we’re hungry”.
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.