What many people don’t know about Walt Disney was that in addition to being a brilliant animator and a dynamic business person, he was also adamant about the importance of the wilds. In Walt Disney’s original vision of Walt Disney World, over one third of the park would have been dedicated to the conservation of wildlife.
The park hasn’t exactly lived up to his plans in this way, but the addition of Animal Kingdom has been a step in the right direction, as has the kicking off of Walt Disney World’s first annual bird count.
During this count, Disney Cast Members and families took to the wilderness surrounding the resort for a day of bird watching and cataloging, to see what kinds of birds populate Central Florida over the winter season. Cast Members also assisted interested guests identify different kinds of birds as they went about cataloging the wildlife.
The bird count was inspired by the similar event that the Audubon Society does every Christmas, which has been a yearly event for over 100 years.
The end count? Volunteer counters ended up reporting nearly 14,000 birds in the immediate area, spanning 113 different species. Many volunteers were impressed with the sheer diversity of bird wildlife in the area, particularly because it was the winter. Winter offers an even lower bird count than any other season After they were done cataloging the birds, the volunteers went back into the park to find another bird native to the Walt Disney World area – Donald Duck.