Come and enjoy the Orlando Wetlands Festival on Saturday, February 21, 2015, from 9am-3pm at Fort Christmas Park.
The Orlando Wetlands Festival is an opportunity to celebrate the Orlando Wetlands Park, the City’s 1,650 acre wetland oasis. The event is sponsored by: City of Orlando, Orange Audubon Society, and Orange County Parks and Recreation.
On February 21, 2014, come and experience this unique wetland treatment system with the entire family. Event co-sponsor, Orange Audubon Society, will lead guided bird-watching excursions. The Florida Native Plant Society will lead native plant identification hikes; while, the Florida Trail Association will be providing wilderness hikes. Guided photo hikes will also be available and led by professional nature and wildlife photographers.
For those who like to sit and ride, guided bus tours will travel along the wetland berms, giving riders a chance to experience firsthand, Florida’s wild wetlands. Hay rides will also give riders a chance to relax and take in the scenery.
In addition to the numerous guided tours, there will be bird-banding and mist-netting demonstrations, as well as live music by Homer Stiles and magical comedy provided by Brian Staron.
Featured in the various wildlife shows, many different live animals will be present such as alligators, snakes, birds and many others. Also, the City’s Families, Parks and Recreation Department will be giving away free backyard trees in celebration of Arbor Day. There will be many interactive children’s activities (like Out-On-A-Limb kids tree climbing), bounce houses and much more!
So bring the whole family and invite your friends and neighbors to this fun, free educational festival. Bring your cameras, and prepare for an adventure in the wilderness.
Please leave your pets at home; there are wild animals. Food will be available for purchase. Free admission and free door prizes!
For more information: call Orlando Wetlands Park 407.568.1706.
Event Website: cityoforlando.net/wetlands
Directions: To get to the Park, take S.R. 50 to Christmas, Florida. Turn north onto 420, Ft. Christmas Rd. Continue north 1.8 miles. Fort Christmas Park will be on your left. Free parking will be located on your right across from Fort Christmas Park. The address is 1300 North Fort Christmas Road, Christmas, FL 32709.
The rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) is a most unusual looking bird found primarily in the rain forests of Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Singapore, the Malay Peninsula and southern Thailand. Its large yellow-orange hornlike casque, curving upward from between its eyes as an extension of its beak, makes it immediately clear why this species of hornbill is associated with a rhinoceros. As one of the largest hornbills, adults weigh up to 3kg and are typically between 91 and 122 cm long. They have a lifespan of thirty-five years or more in captivity and there is little difference in appearance between the male and female of the species, other than the male having orange or red irises, and the female’s irises being whitish in color.
While the casque may be shaded in orange and yellow, the beak of the rhinoceros hornbill is mostly white. When in flight, the rhinoceros hornbill’s black wings curve around gracefully towards its head, while it’s white tail feathers with a perfect semi-circle of black spreads out like a fan. As omnivores, these fascinating birds eat fruit, insects, rodents, small reptiles and even smaller birds.
During the breeding period the female rhinoceros hornbill is completely dependent on her mate as she incubates the eggs and starts raising their chicks. Upon finding a suitable cavity in a tree trunk, the female lays one or two eggs while the male collects mud which the pair will mix with food and feces to close up the entrance to the nest. They leave a small hole in the newly made wall for the male to pass food through for the female and later for the chicks. The female also defecates through the hole to avoid soiling the nesting cavity. Around thirty days after the eggs hatch the female breaks through the wall and seals it behind her. Both parents continue feeding the chicks through a small hole until they are able to break through the wall on their own, at which point they are ready to fly.
Rhinoceros hornbills are not considered to be endangered at present, however deforestation is a problem which could impact populations in the wild in the future. Moreover, these birds are hunted as food, and ornaments are made out of their casques. Members of the public can play a part in conserving rhinoceros hornbills and other animals by refusing to buy ornaments or other products made from their body parts.