Saturday, April 18, 2009

Green Heron visits GBH Rookery

I spent a couple of hours watching the Herons this morning. Some of the nests have chicks that are almost the size of their mothers. And a number of the nests have 4 chicks in them. The nests should be getting crowded as they continue to grow. At least one of the females frequently leaves the nest without the male being there and leaving the chicks alone. When she does that they begin to explore like crazy. I was sure they were putting themselves in danger of falling out of the nest as they balanced themselves on the side of the nests and took in the scene below. If they were to fall, it would be goodby to them since they cannot fly and certainly cannot swim!! As I packed up to leave I saw this Green Heron swoop in and begin to hunt for his lunch. Very pretty bird!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Great Blue Herons as Role Models

After about 30 days the chicks are getting fairly large. This particular nest has 4 chicks in it so things are also beginning to get a bit crowded. I drop by for a few minutes almost every day and I am amazed at what great parenting skills and what commitment to family is displayed by these guys. Every once in a while the male realizes that the female needs a few minutes to stretch, so he flies in and they trade places. She flies away, presumedly to stretch and spread her wings a bit and probably to decompress, and he takes her place watching over the chicks. At other times, he is hunting for food and when he catches it he dutifully brings home the "bacon" to Momma who stores it away until needed. Last week I saw one of the females reach down into the bottom of the nest and come up with a fish larger than her whole head. It seems she swallows it whole and you can see it working itself down her neck. Incredible!!!