Limpkins are found in swamps and marshes in Florida they feed primarily on apple snails. The photo below shows an apple snail on the trunk of a bald cypress tree. The pink clusters on the tree trunk and the reed are eggs that the snail has already deposited.
Limpkins nest on floating vegetation or in trees, this nest is in a tree. Incubation time for their eggs is approximately 27 days.
8 chicks hatched from this nest, getting a family portrait was impossible with the chicks exploring their new world.
This chick stood a away from the family pensively watching and learning.
Meanwhile theses three amigos formed a close knit bond that endured up to the time they matured.
Adults hunted apple snails and fed the insatiable appetite of the chicks for weeks.
When it was time to move from one location to another the adults would carry a snail shell knowing that the chicks would follow.One by one the chicks entered the marsh waters following the adult.Is this where the saying “keeping your ducks in a row” comes from? (Yes, I’m aware these are not ducks 😀)
Once on the other side of the marsh this little Limpkin takes its iconic place close to the adults mouth waiting for food.
At 2 weeks the parents continued to bring the brood to the same area to feed, the water level hadn’t receded after a heavy rain and neither the adults nor chicks were happy to have wet feet all day long. Note the downy feathers fading giving way to pin feathers at 2 weeks.
At 3 weeks of age the chicks have more than doubled in size and the pin feathers continue to fill in on their wings. A couple of the chicks have disappeared from the family however, the dynamic bond continues with the amigo siblings sticking close by one another while the chick in the foreground remains a solitary creature.
At 6 weeks the Limpkin chicks are nearly the size of the adults and they are learning to find food for themselves yet they don’t pass an opportunity to slip under a parent that is hunting in hopes for a bit to eat.
By the time 7 weeks passed only four chicks had survived. I wondered what happened had an alligator or snake or bird of prey taken them… I choose not to dwell on the loss because it is the other side of wildlife and nature the cycle of life and my main focus is on the beauty and wonder side of the cycle.
I observed this Limpkin family for 2 months watching how the parents cared for their young and taught them how to survive. It was interesting that when the chicks were displaying signs of sibling rivalry the parents didn’t intervene they let the youngsters work it out on their own. During the chicks growth there were moments that I felt a personal pride watching their accomplishments it was they were a part of my own family. But as all good things come to an end so did the chronicling of this feathered family, they grew up and went off in their own separate directions. I hope you have enjoyed the chronicle of this Limpkin family and are encouraged to discover nature for yourself. Now go take more photos!📷📷
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