I was recently in Animal Kingdom to walk some of the animal trails. One of my favorites is just outside of Africa and part of the Discovery Island Trails. Since the Saddle-billed stork viewing area is first, we will check out what's happening!
Little did I know what a treat I was in for special treat. A Cast Member came by and told me the storks are nesting - both the Saddle-billed and the Painted Stork.
No sooner had she left and 2 animal keepers came by and shared more information with me.
While the pair of Saddle-billed Storks have built a nest before, this is the biggest nest they have built and the first time the female has laid eggs, two as of now and could lay a third. The first egg was laid on 2/4 and the next one 2/7. The gestation period is about 30-35 days which means if the eggs are fertile, there will hopefully be a little baby or more in very early March. If this happens it will be the first baby Saddle-billed Storks at Animal Kingdom.
The photos may not show, but this nest is HUGE. The Cast Member said she had put a lot of nesting materials in the area yesterday and it was all gone today.
The female was on the nest and didn't move the whole time I was there. The male was very close by hanging out.
I did learn 2 ways to tell the difference between a male and female Saddle-Billed Stork. First, the males tend to be taller. But the main difference is their eye color. The females have yellow eyes and the males brown.
See if you can spot the differences next time you are walking the Discovery Island trails!
A bit further down the trail on the same side are the Painted Storks.
I had a harder time finding their nest. It is to the right side of the viewing area down near the water. This photo can help you find it. You'll have to look through the branches.
At times the storks would be standing on the nest looking at the eggs.
Other times one would sit on the eggs. Both groups were fascinating to watch.
Here's a viewing tip -- look for the colorful signs in each viewing area. You will learn what animal/bird you are viewing, where they live in the world and additional information. This is great for both kids and adults
What is your favorite part of the Discovery Island Trails?
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