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.

Zoo baby explosion

Zooming in on the marabou stork babies at Zoo Tampa (formerly Lowry Park Zoo). They are born looking like old birds. Reminds me of the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where Benjamin ages in reverse and is born an old person and then turns young. Only these birds look old their entire lives.

A new baby out in the African exhibit staying close to Mom.

The fuzzy white thing is a  baby Colobus monkey. So cute and easy to spot. The keeper said that the entire group helps raise the baby so the baby was comfortable moving around with all of them.

A wild baby tricolored heron waiting for Mom to feed it.

Little blue herons that were born weeks earlier over the alligator exhibit.

Wild baby mallards playing in one of the exhibits.

And just for fun, a turtle train.

So many babies born this early spring at Zoo Tampa. It’s fun to watch the kids get excited seeing all of the baby animals.

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Baby tricolored herons at the zoo

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Baby tricolored heron looking at me.

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Was he giving me the peace sign? No, just scratching an itch.

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At first they were quiet. Then the screaming started. They must have known mom was close by.

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Mom shows up at the nest and chaos starts.

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Screaming goes on.

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Then begging.

A short video of the baby being fed. It’s funny to watch those little wings going so fast. Mom pauses in the beginning to regurgitate the food up. Yum!

I stopped by the zoo in mid-May to see if there were any more spoonbills hanging around. No spoonbills but there were a few nests with baby tricolored herons and blue herons. All were in the bushes and palm trees over the alligator exhibit.

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Crazy lunatic tricolored herons

The three stooges. This was the first nest you came to on the boardwalk so they were greeting everyone that came in that morning. They must be one of the first babies that were born this spring. They are almost fully grown.

Even when the babies look grown up they still have that spiky hair sticking up on the top of their heads that make them look so comical.

These birds were jumping around waiting for mom to come back with food.

Upclose profile. He’s probably 6-8 weeks old.

Parent (on the left) feeding one of it’s almost grown offspring. The one on the far right is waiting his turn.

The parent on the left is running away from his screaming crazy babies.

“Feed me, feed me” These juvenile tricolored herons were screaming all morning. They are now much more animated and louder as they get older.

On my third trip to Gatorland to see the nesting wild birds in the rookery there, the baby tricolored herons were growing up fast. They are the funniest birds to watch out of all the big water birds that nest there. The great egrets and blue herons scream but don’t look as comical as the tricolored herons do. There were juveniles only a few months old walking on the rails of the boardwalk. They got pretty close to the photographers there. I kept having to back up to take pictures. It was a lot of fun watching these guys grow up.

Camera Critters

Tricolored heron babies

Just a few crazy baby tricolored herons from my recent trip to Gatorland in Orlando. The mangrove bushes were full of nests. I think these birds get the prize for being the funniest looking babies. Most of the great egret babies were getting big and the tricolored heron babies were just being born. I think all of these are only a few days old. They were constantly screaming to be fed. Next are the blue herons and cattle egrets. They start a little later in the season. They were just building nests and sitting on eggs. Hopefully, those will be born in time for my trip in May.