A Limpkin family chronicle

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.apple snail laying eggs-4765

Limpkins nest on floating vegetation or in trees, this nest is in a tree. Incubation time for their eggs is approximately 27 days.1 - sitting on nest-9309

8 chicks hatched from this nest, getting a family portrait was impossible with the chicks exploring their new world.  3 - limpkin family-4000

This chick stood a away from the family pensively watching and learning.4 - 3 days new watching and learning-3991jpg

Meanwhile theses three amigos formed a close knit bond that endured up to the time they matured.5 - 3 amigos _DSC3995

Adults hunted apple snails and fed the insatiable appetite of the chicks for weeks.6 - adult feeding apple snail to chick _DSC4004

When it was time to move from one location to another the adults would carry a snail shell knowing that the chicks would follow.7 -  time to cross the marsh - follow us_DSC4538-28 - follow me _DSC4541One by one the chicks entered the marsh waters following the adult.9 - chicks following parents across the marsh _DSC4544Is 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.10 - safe on the other side of the marsh _DSC4512-2

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.limpkin chicks 2wks after 5" rain pin feathers beginning to show-5089 Note the downy feathers fading giving way to pin feathers at 2 weeks. limpkin chick 2wks  pin feather-5329

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.limpkin chicks 3wks pin feathers 3 amigos-6145

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.classic limpkin position 6 wks-7510limpkin chick 6wks being fed 2-7478

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!📷📷

Do You See What I See…  © PC PHOTO 2016 All rights reserved

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6 thoughts on “A Limpkin family chronicle

  1. I really enjoyed your limpkin family saga, such a visual feast to see them grow up and learn how to fend for themselves. 2 months well spent, your photos are a real treat.

    • Glad you enjoyed the journey through their little lives. This was a departure from the way I have photographed wildlife and I must say I better understand what other wildlife photographers say about “get to know the animal behaviors and then you can make better photographs”.

  2. Limpkins must Creole Birds living primarily on Escargot! Do they drink Chocolate as well? Great Series of shots.

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