The watery areas of Big Cypress National Preserve attract colorful flocks of long-legged wading birds that sweep across the shallow wetlands stalking their prey, while other waterbirds dive below the surface to search for food.
Anhingas dive deep and swim underwater to spear prey. Upon resurfacing, with a fish speared on its bill, the anhinga slides the fish to the tip of its bill, then flips the fish in the air, and swallows it head first. These birds are often seen perching with their feathers and to use the sun's rays to warm their bodies-thermoregulation.
The aigrette feathers of the snowy egret almost led to their demise due to the plume trade as the birds were extensively hunted in the late 1800s, their feathers decorating fashionable ladies' hats. The snowy egret has bright yellow feet which attracts fish and thus a quick meal as the snowy wades in the water.
The white ibis feeds sewing machine style, using its long red decurved bill to probe the mud and water, hunting snails and crayfish, by touch, often leaving closely spaced mud holes behind.
· Avoid disrupting the natural behavior of birds. Although an isolated disturbance may not be harmful to an individual's survival, cumulative incident from other visitors
may be detrimental.
· Be careful not to disturb nesting birds. Eggs or chicks left unattended are vulnerable to extreme temperatures or predators.
.The best birding and wildlife viewing is from trails and viewing platforms along the Tamiami Trail.
· Do no feed the birds. Feeding birds prevents them from finding food naturally. Please throw your recyclables and trash in the designated bins.