You can sometimes hear them before you see them: Sweet but incessant cries of early life, calling for food, warmth, attention. If you’re lucky — and in the right place — you get a look at the first chicks of the season, which can be found all across Florida this month where the warm temperatures get the breeding season off to an early start.
The photos above, (from left to right), include a weeks-old Wood Stork, a Great Egret so new its feathers are nothing but fuzz, a Sandhill Crane already up and walking and a very young Anhinga, calling for food.
We spent the past six weeks roaming Florida on a spring-time birding trip. The nesting and breeding season is still many weeks away farther north, but here it’s in full swing for large coastal birds. You can see Egrets and Herons hauling sticks and branches across the marshes, and Wood Storks in the midst of their mating rituals. We witnessed the first generation of Anhingas, Cormorants and other new hatchlings in the nest, then perking up, and finally standing, walking and attempting to fly.