Nested season had already started for the great blue herons at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. Some were just starting to work on nests, some were still showing off for their mate and some were already sitting on eggs.
The permanently injured resident white morph great blue heron was showing his breeding colors in his beak. The colors were really pretty against his white neck.
A caracara yelling at something. It’s rare to see a caracara in the Tampa bay area so this is a new bird for a lot of people They can usually be found more inland in central Florida. unfortunately this bird is here because he was injured out in the wild and lost a wing.
An eagle with a missing wing.
A wild phoebe flew right in front of me and posed so I had to take his picture.
Linking to My Corner of the World.
I walked into the big aviary at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park and the spoonbills were lined up along the railing. They didn’t move at all when I walked in. I had to stand in the doorway to get them across the boardwalk with my 300mm lens. They are beautiful birds, like pink cotton candy. The colors and details in their faces are amazing. They seem to be just waking up from their morning nap when I had walked in, stretching and preening.
The two above were taken with my phone.
The northern pintail taking a nap on the boardwalk didn’t move when I walked past him. I enjoyed a few minutes of quiet time with the spoonies before a big family came in the aviary. At that point, the spoonies and pintail knew it was time to leave the boardwalk and head to the bushes and water in the aviary.
It’s not often you can get up close to a bald eagle. Especially a juvenile one (the all brown one in the last shot). These eagles are all missing a wing and now live at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They are in an open enclosure and just love to pose.
Pelicans were just starting to nest.
A night heron in the first shot. He crept up pretty close to me. The wild great blue herons were working on nests in the top of the trees over the alligator exhibit.
A burrowing owl trying to sleep.
Other animals were all just chilling out the morning I was there in early January. Lots of fun animals at the park. Unfortunately most are injured but have a home here at the park.
From far away it looks like big rocks out there in the water. They were really manatees.
It’s not often you can get this close to manatees. At Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park you can see them up close on a bridge that crosses over Homosassa River where the wild manatees congregate in the winter. The water is crystal clear so you can really see the details on these big sea cows.
They were staying close together keeping warm. It had been cold for a few days but the water in the springs stays much warmer.
When they come up for air you can really see their faces.
There are tour guides that take you down the river and swim in the area that the manatees are hanging out. The tours are heavily monitored by volunteers to make sure the people don’t bother the manatees if they are in the no-swim zone. I’d rather just let the manatees stay wild and admire them from the bridge. There were over 20 boats by lunch time.
“Fishies” swimming by the underwater observation window.
From my annual winter road trip in January.
Permanently injured white pelicans that live at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They are beautiful birds.
Getting their morning snacks from a park ranger.
They have a white morph great blue heron missing a wing that lives there.
Wood stork also getting breakfast.
Pink fluff balls (spoonbills) all lined up.
You can get up close to all of the beautiful birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park just north of Tampa. The sanctuary is home to a lot of injured birds.
It feels a little early for mating season but since we’ve had warm weather this winter the birds are getting busy. On the island in the middle of the pond at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, the pelicans were building nests and doing some extreme flirting. Most of these pelicans are injured. You can see in the last picture the pelican is missing one of his wings. Most of these injuries are due to getting caught in fishing wire.
I did notice a very tiny bald head under one of the pelicans. The pelican above had 3 babies that had just hatched under her wing.
A few times the parent got up to stretch and we were able to see the babies a little better. They must have been only one day old if that. They looked like little blue aliens.
It was a busy morning for them as they were trying to feed, nest and bath all together.
Looks like they were having fun splashing around.
The pelican island at the wildlife park is a safe place for these injured pelicans to live. The babies that they have can grow up and fly away whenever they are ready. We were lucky to have been there on a warm day right when the first of the babies were born. By now these guys are almost fully grown. Soon Mom will be an empty nester again.
All of the above are missing a wing. They are permanent residents at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park.
A wild vulture stopped by for a handout.
Lots of other Florida wildlife there as well.
The flamingos were taking a bath or napping.
A few things from Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park in late December.