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.

Nesting season in full swing.

It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and these birds are about to be very busy moms.

There were a few babies in the far back of the wood stork rookery in north Tampa in late March. You can barely make out the fuzz in the back nest. I was a little early for babies but was in the area so I stopped by for a quick visit.

Many of the wood storks were still fighting over nesting spots.

Many were still bringing in sticks to add to the nest.

A few great egrets were also looking for sticks.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms out there.

Growing up on the pond

The young wood storks have such an intriguing face.

Young cattle egrets and little blue herons starting to use their wings and learn their way around the mangroves.

Great egrets feeding their young go on for a long time. The baby egrets being fed already look like adults. I’m sure the parents are glad when they become empty nesters.

More shots from the bird rookery in north Tampa this summer.

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.

“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.

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.