101 Travel Bits: Everglades National Park - The Anhinga Trail
Time for an excerpt from our book, 101 Travel Bits: Everglades National Park. Today's excerpt is from the book's entry on the Ahnhinga Trail, one of the park's hiking trails.
"Starting from the Royal Palm Visitor Center, the Anhinga Trail is an easy, 0.8 mile (1.3 km), wheelchair accessible trail that winds through a slough and a sawgrass marsh. The trail is probably the best place in the park to get an up-close view of wildlife like alligators, turtles, and birds; the trail is popular, and the animals along it are more accustomed to the presence of people than they are elsewhere in the park.
Among the birds you are likely to see along the trail is the anhinga (Anhinga anhinga). The trail, unsurprisingly, gets its name from the anhingas that nest along it. The name “anhinga” comes from a Brazilian native language and means “snake bird.” When you see an anhinga swimming, only its neck appears above the water. This gives it the appearance of a snake about to strike, hence its name.
Unlike many birds, especially those that spend their lives on or near water, the anhinga does not have waterproof feathers. This adaptation, along with dense bones and neutral buoyancy in water, lets the anhinga swim fully submerged. However, this same adaptation prevents the anhinga from flying when its feathers are wet. Anhingas are often seen with their wings and feathers spread, which helps them dry faster."
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