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.
Baby anhingas from June.
Younger anhingas begging Dad to feed 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.
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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.
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.
“Mom, when are we going to eat breakfast?”
“No really Mom, I’m hungry. When is Dad coming back with fish?”
“Don’t ignore me, Mom.”
“I’m going to start having a flapping fit if we don’t eat soon.”
“I’ll just eat your tail feathers.”
“Yuk, this doesn’t taste good.”
“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.
Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday
Also check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention