Birds are the other stars of Orlando's Gatorland

buy canada goose jacket cheap A great cheap Canada Goose egret riding an alligator at. (Michael DeFreitas North America / Alamy) buy canada goose jacket cheap

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Canada Goose Coats On Sale If I were a kid, I would have squealed and hopped up and down. Even as an adult, my jaw dropped when I rounded a corner into the natural rookery at Orlando's for the first time. Canada Goose Coats On Sale

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Canada Goose Jackets A duo of tricolored heron Canada Goose online chicks pecked their way out of their blue shells just feet from my widening eyes. Hundreds of other baby birds filled nests tucked into the trees and shrubs surrounding the gator filled lagoon. Great egrets landed right next to me. A wood stork, fresh off the endangered species list, shadowed me along the boardwalk. Canada Goose Jackets

uk canada goose outlet A frilly snowy egret, its lipstick pink lore and orange yellow feet on show for mating season, spiked its wispy head feathers and fanned its plumes while arching its body and poking its head in the air. It was just one of the hundreds of wading birds that come to breed in this unlikely theme park setting. uk canada goose outlet

canada goose uk outlet The rookery, which covers 10acres and includes a winding boardwalk, was established in 1991 when dug the pond and began to breed alligators there. Over the years, more egrets, herons, wood storks, cormorants, anhingas and other birds flocked to it during breeding season. canada goose uk outlet

canada goose black friday sale Tiny tri colored heron baby after it has hatched. (Barbara J. Saffir for The Washington Post) canada goose black friday sale

cheap canada goose uk "The birds figured out that the gators canada goose clearance sale act like a security system," said alligator wrestler Canada Goose sale Adam Hall, 's resident bird expert. The roughly 150 gators in the pond keep out raccoons, snakes and other canada goose store predators that might otherwise devour the eggs and chicks. As a result, there are now hundreds of birds nesting there. They have learned to endure shrieking kids and snapping photographers in exchange for the safety the rookery provides boisterous humans apparently trump ravenous snakes. cheap canada goose uk

Canada Goose online "It's like the Galapagos, as far as being able to get really close buy canada goose jacket cheap to the birds and their nests," said Larry Rosen, president of the Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society. And except for some savvy nature photographers, the rookery, which flourishes from February to early June, is still largely unknown, even by most visitors to the popular park, which features about 1,400 alligators in addition to many other attractions. Canada Goose online

As a kid growing up in Miami, I learned to steer clear of tourist thronged theme parks. I had driven past many times without even noticing it. I found out about it on a photography blog only after I got hooked on nature photography at home in Washington. Now I'm addicted to 's magic.

"It has become such an incredible nature experience," said Filip Hanik of Castle Rock, Colo., who first visited in 2008 and has returned since to observe the birds.

canadian goose jacket Jack Rogers, a geology and nature photography professor at Orlando's Valencia College and recent award winner in the bird category of the Nature's Best Photography Canada Goose Jackets magazine contest uses as an outdoor classroom for his photography classes. It offers "guaranteed canada goose outlet opportunities canada goose clearance that might not be available in the wild," he said. Roughly a fifth of the birds nest on the close in or west side of the lagoon near the boardwalk; at least two dozen nests are clearly visible within a few feet of it. The rest of the birds nest on the far side of the small lagoon. canadian goose jacket

cheap Canada Goose The first thing you notice about the hundreds of white, blue gray and black birds is the sound. It never stops, whether it be the youngsters' rhythmic squawking eh eh, eh canada goose coats on sale eh, eh eh or the low, garglelike songs of birds trying to woo mates. Many birds nest within a few feet of one another, so one pair might have chicks while canada goose another just a few feet away is still, shall we say, honeymooning. There's a lot of honeymooning there from actual mating Canada Goose Parka to the almost endless cooing and preening and canada goose black friday sale what might be called bird cuddling. cheap Canada Goose

canada goose coats on sale Females and sometimes males sit dutifully on their nests with their eyes turned down, but they occasionally glance up and look directly into visitors' eyes. Otherwise, the birds don't stay still for long. They strut their stuff with mating dances. They chase each other from branch to branch. They fly overhead carrying sticks. Sometimes they land right next to visitors on the boardwalk. It's as busy as recess in the school playground. canada goose coats on sale

canada goose clearance sale The rookery's birds stagger their arrival. The superstar great egrets elegant symbols of the National Audubon Society start arriving by late January. Adult snowy egrets are hunkered down by March. They share the pond with double crested cormorants, sporting aqua eyes and turquoise mouths; feisty wood storks; and fancy dancing black green anhingas. By April, cattle egrets, with their mating costumes of rusty orange "mohawk" feathers and rainbow colored lores and beaks, and blue gray tricolored herons, with their serpentine necks, have come to nest. canada goose clearance sale

uk canada goose To actually see a chick hatching takes patience and luck. But even casual visitors are guaranteed canada goose deals fascinating displays of avian behavior. Canada Goose Outlet When an adult flies back to its nest with a belly full of dinner, the hungry chicks yank on the parent's beak, which stimulates the bird to regurgitate the food directly into the babies' daggerlike bills. Some adults head to other gator ponds in the main theme park for fast food, snatching pieces of turkey hot dog from the alligators, sometimes in midair. (Visitors can buy the treats to feed the gators, but signs warn them not to feed other wildlife.) uk canada goose

canada goose uk black friday The anhinga courting display is as carefully choreographed as a routine from "Dancing With the Stars," only visitors can see it canadian goose jacket from 10 feet away. First, the bird stands on its webbed feet while fanning its silver tipped tail and sticking it straight up. Then it flaps one silver streaked wing and then the other, as if it were doing the crawl. Finally, it bends forward like it's doing a curtsy while raising both its wings parallel with its tail. If the light is right, you can spy its eyes, encircled by blue and green. canada goose uk black friday

canada goose store At nightfall, hundreds more birds from outside the park swoop down to roost in the bird motel, Hall said. Because the gators are well fed, the big birds can safely stand right next to them in the shallow water and sometimes even land on top of the beasts, which can reach nearly 14 feet long. But if a baby falls out of its nest into the water, "it's toast," Rosen said. canada goose store

Canada Goose Online The only other spot in canada goose coats the nation where birders can get reliably close to such a dense concentration of mating and nesting birds is the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. While its rookery is smaller than 's and its gators aren't as chummy with the birds, it's worth a trip to see the big, pink roseate spoonbills that nest there. Canada Goose Online

canada goose factory sale Before, I sometimes viewed egrets and other majestic birds as icons rather than living creatures. I typically photographed them fishing alone buy canada goose jacket or flying serenely along the Potomac River as though they were inanimate parts of the scenic summer landscape. But watching them interact up close and witnessing their brief transformations with crayon colors and flashy feathers led me to see them as individuals coping with real life problems like food, shelter, friends and families. My time on the boardwalk changed my perspective, transforming me from outside observer to next door neighbor. canada goose factory sale

Canada Goose sale Does it ever get boring to visit? Not for Alma Jo Drain. The Kissimmee painter and photographer has been a faithful visitor since 1972. "It's like a Lay's potato chip," she said. "You can never eat just one." Canada Goose sale.