Last shots of the baby birds from the bird rookery at Gatorland from May.
The juvenile baby great egrets were fighting with each other waiting for Mom to bring food.
Mom brings back a fish and both babies fight for it.
The sibling that didn’t get the fish was yelling “Where’s my fish?”. Off mom went.
For some reason, the tricolored herons seem to be the last birds to nest at the bird rookery at Gatorland. Maybe they take over great egret nests once they are finished using them. There were a few nests that had older babies including the ones above.
Some were just a few days old.
Some of the older ones still being fed by parents.
These triplets, who were growing up in a nest on a palm tree right up against the boardwalk, were pretty funny to watch. They are so comical at this age. These were all taken during my last visit in late May.
Many of the birds were still sitting on eggs at the bird rookery at Gatorland in Orlando in mid-May.
Some were still flirting.
Lots of different wild birds hanging out at the park including the great egret above that stole a hot dog from an alligator. You can feed the alligators here but half of the time the birds get the food quicker.
The youngest baby birds at the rookery that morning. The baby snowy egrets were probably only a few days old.
The gators were getting frisky.
Seeing a baby gator up close.
This guy was taking a break before the crowds were on the boardwalk.
These 2 almost fully grown snowy egrets were going crazy when Mom showed up with breakfast. She sat there for a few minutes before feeding them and they kept trying to climb over to her.
Eventually she was ready to pass the fish over to them. Mom brings the food in her mouth and then passes it over. I’m surprised eyes don’t get poked out.
The sibling was screaming for food next so off she went to get another fish. At this point the babies are big enough to leave alone. They don’t really stay on the tiny nest but hang out in the branches close by. These guys were probably flying pretty soon after I took these at Gatorland,
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.
I was very safe taking these shots from the boardwalk at Gatorland. These were all taken during the early morning hours at the bird rookery. It’s hard not to take pictures when they are moving around right below you. Mating season was in full swing so they were being very loud.
This great blue heron was hanging out in the exhibit. I’m sure he knew he could make a fast getaway if needed.
The younger alligators in the ponds at the front of the park all seemed to be smiling this morning. I think they had just been fed.
Views from the observation tower. The birds nest in the bushes all along the boardwalk. There were quite a few other photographers there that morning as well.
The wild cormorants and anhingas nest in the highest trees at the bird rookery at Gatorland. High over the alligator lake, they build the tiniest nests.
This almost grown cormorant was still being fed by the parent. He was digging way down deep to get that fish that was stuck down his parent’s throat.
This handsome anhinga was still grabbing sticks for a nest.
Another one tried for the longest time to break off this branch.
Bringing it back to the nest!
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.