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Cantankerous Puffs of Adorable

Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way. —John Muir

We’re finally getting drenched with some much-needed rains in South Florida — the swamps and Everglades are thrilled, I’m sure of it. Last Monday alone, we received ten inches from the sky… TEN INCHES. That kind of downpour creates flash flooding, and the accompanying high winds (and lovely lightning) can wreak havoc on birds’ nests.

During a quick visit to the wetlands between the raindrops, it was obvious that there was much repair to the nests being done throughout the preserve. As I was blankly staring at a turtle (I love our turtles), I caught some commotion deep within a Pond apple tree, one that’s been an annual home to nesting Green herons. Mom had just returned with branches to repair the nest, and her little ones were obviously expecting food — and visibly unhappy about the sticks over the food.

Baby Green Heron in Pond Apple Tree, Florida Wetlands

On the lookout for mom

All babies are sweet, but Green heron babies are little cantankerous puffs of adorable.

Baby Green Heron in Pond Apple Tree, Florida Wetlands

She’s not that way, either…

And back she flew to the wetlands, to high commotion, for more nest-building materials. So much work to be done; babies still needed their food….

Baby Green Heron and Mother in Pond Apple Tree, Florida Wetlands

Honestly, mother.

[For all you locals: If you're as fascinated by the area's water cycle and flow as I am, check out Go Hydrology in my "Florida Nature Blogs" to the right — fantastic daily updates and general information!]

89 Comments Post a comment
  1. “Cantankerous puffs of adorable”: perfect!

    May 28, 2013
    • Hee, they really were, little angry fluff-balls! Poor mama… :)

      May 28, 2013
  2. A Mother’s work is never done!

    Great photographs of the beautiful herons!

    May 28, 2013
    • When you see how much they work — wow! Thanks so much; I wish the photos were a bit better, but they were really tucked in there.

      May 28, 2013
  3. we need some of that rain up here in west central Florida :)

    May 28, 2013
    • Wow, you haven’t been getting it yet? But honestly, we *just* started getting it in full-force last week — a bit later than usual! I’ll try to send some your way. ;)

      May 28, 2013
      • we’ve had a lot of clouds not much in the way of rain…thanks for sending showers our way ;)

        May 28, 2013
      • Yay!!! :)

        May 28, 2013
  4. Those are definitely adorable. A killdeer made a nest in our driveway and she raises cane every time we drive by. Not the brightest mom….or maybe she is, knowing that we’ll take care to steer away predators. <3

    May 28, 2013
    • Hahahh!! Love it…. It’s like “my” mockingbirds. Each year, they set up house near my doorway, and right outside the garage. And they love to dive-bomb! I always apologize to them for getting in their ways, lol.

      May 28, 2013
  5. How sweet to have been whitness to the goings on. How dry my life would be without all the birds and beasts.

    May 28, 2013
    • You’re so very right… It touches my heart and soul each and every time! I don’t know what I’d do without such scenes and without this life.

      May 28, 2013
  6. Baby birds can be so demanding… and these guys are adorable. “Me Mom, me! Feed me! Feed me! Now!” You don’t have to speak bird to get the meaning. :)

    May 28, 2013
    • So true.. I was watching the scene unfold more than I was snapping it, it was such a hoot. The poor overworked mama, though! Wow….

      May 28, 2013
  7. Awww! so darn cute! All the little babies are starting to fly right now – it’s such a great time of year :D

    May 28, 2013
    • It really is!! Between fixing the nests, feeding the fledglings, and teaching them to fly… I don’t know how the adults survive! :)

      May 28, 2013
  8. Puffs of adorable is right! And, you captured that beautifully in your photos! Gorgeous.

    May 28, 2013
    • Thanks so much! I was watching the adorable chaos more than I was snapping it, honestly. I don’t know how wildlife survives… So much WORK.

      May 28, 2013
  9. Fantastic title for the post. There’s nothing like demanding kids to ramp up the noise level.

    May 28, 2013
    • Heh, thanks. And the mama didn’t make a peep — poor thing was exhausted, you could just see it.

      May 28, 2013
  10. I’ve never seen a green heron chick, but that’s probably because I avoid their nesting sites if I can. Thanks for the photos of them, now I know what they look like.

    May 28, 2013
    • It’s impossible to avoid nesting sites in this particular preserve — rookeries galore. But these urban wetlands and their inhabitants are carefully protected by human visitors, fortunately. On my hikes in the ‘glades, it’s definitely near-impossible to be afforded such a glimpse!

      May 28, 2013
  11. The Green heron babies are so sweet!

    May 28, 2013
    • Aren’t they just the most adorable little things? :)

      May 28, 2013
  12. Aptly named post! Great shots.

    May 28, 2013
    • Hee, thanks so much! If you had seen the scene unfold, there was no other naming it… :)

      May 28, 2013
  13. Awww…so cute! Love the little greenie babies! Tremendous shots!

    May 28, 2013
    • Thanks so much! It was a bit dark, and they were really tucked in the pond apple, but what fun…. :)

      May 28, 2013
  14. Adorable! It’s fun seeing little critters from across the country up close and personal… Here in San Diego I mostly encounter ground squirrels and seagulls.

    May 28, 2013
    • You’re so right — I love seeing all the critters the world over! :)

      I bet you guys have lots of sea and shorebirds, though!

      May 28, 2013
  15. What a cutie this little green Heron chick is ! Wonderful photos !! // Maria

    May 28, 2013
    • Aren’t they the sweetest? And the scene — doubly adorable! :)

      Thanks so very much!! -Christina

      May 28, 2013
  16. So cute! I’ve never seen them fuzzy like that. Send some of that rain up to Tampa. We need it bad.

    May 28, 2013
    • I love when they get to that fuzzy stage, able to trot around the trees — harassing mom and dad! :)

      Wow, you guys aren’t getting our rains on your coast? I’m surprised, and so sorry! Another Florida gal in the north mentioned the same (no rain, send some)… So here’s to pushing it your way!!

      May 28, 2013
  17. Pam #

    I was just out photographing these cuties today! Wonderful!

    May 28, 2013
    • Ah, no way! Did you see babies? Love this stage! :)

      May 28, 2013
      • Pam #

        Actually I saw tricolor heron babies – they are so funny! Pictures will show up sometime soon. Got lots to sort from California trip and all this activity here in Florida. Great place to live!

        May 28, 2013
      • Ah, I love the tricolor babies!! They’re so gangly and funny…. I just shot a few of them, too. :)

        May 29, 2013
  18. Adorable they are! I envy your rain and I’m in awe of the land there that is able to take that much! I would love to spend time in the Everglades!

    May 28, 2013
    • Aw, I just know you would LOVE it… It’s beautiful, unique, and so-very-special. And I bet you wouldn’t get lost like I constantly do. :)

      May 28, 2013
  19. Great Captures – so stinkin cute:)

    May 28, 2013
    • Heh heh… Completely stinkin’ cute!! :)

      May 28, 2013
  20. Wow, I’ve never seen a chick of these Green Herons, and you did it, great!!!

    May 29, 2013
    • Ah, I’m so happy you got a glimpse of one! Aren’t they the sweetest little fluff-balls? This guy was so brave, too… :)

      May 29, 2013
  21. That last picture is too perfect! See me roar!!! :)
    You never know what you might see out walking!

    May 29, 2013
    • I love that one too! I wish it weren’t so dark (they were really tucked in there, on a dark day)… Little one so cantankerous, and poor mama, so harried! :) You’re right though… It’s when you’re not looking, when the surprises occur.

      May 29, 2013
  22. Those birds truly are adorable! Fabulous shots.

    May 29, 2013
    • Thanks so very much! I was thrilled to have been there at the right time… :) They’re such sweethearts.

      May 29, 2013
  23. Truly, truly a cutie. Thank you very much!!!

    May 29, 2013
    • Pat #

      Love your Gravatar photo Marialla.

      May 29, 2013
    • Ah, aren’t they the sweetest? Thanks so very much… I was just lucky and happy to have witnessed the event! :) Poor mama, though! Busy girl….

      May 29, 2013
  24. Pat #

    Beautiful FeyGirl – love these photos. :-)

    May 29, 2013
    • Thanks so very much!! :) They’re absolute sweethearts….

      May 29, 2013
  25. I had never seen green heron babies before. I loved their puffy cantankerousness!

    Ten inches of rain overnight? Wow. We had rain here, but it was more like a normal amount. It has been much colder than usual though. On the plus side, it didn’t snow like it did in New York, so at least we had that going for us. :-)

    May 29, 2013
    • Aren’t they the sweetest? The scene was absolutely hysterical, too…. :)

      Oh, I haven’t even mentioned the rest of the week… Or this morning! By the time I woke up this AM, we had already had 5 inches overnight! WHAT?!? Pretty nutty weather, even for here. My mother lives in the Philly area, and she’s been talking about massive swings up there…. Whoa! (And colder, too, like you!)

      May 29, 2013
  26. These photos really made my day! :)

    May 29, 2013
    • Aw, I’m so happy! They’re such sweet little fluff-balls… And this particular guy was particularly ornery and brave, hee! :)

      May 29, 2013
  27. These are awesome powder puff balls ! I bet you’re so happy to see these little ones. Hope the mosquitos didn’t come out in droves after the rain. I’m in Gainesville next week to visit mum.

    May 29, 2013
    • I bet in the swamps those nasties are in FULL FORCE! Argh!!

      Oh no, I’m going north this Friday…2 days!! But I’ll be up there for a week-and-a-half (work + family)! What! We’re going to be passing each other in the sky!!

      May 29, 2013
      • That’s just not right !! Let me know about your longer visit though.

        May 29, 2013
      • SERIOUSLY! I’ll be up north till the 12th, though at least… I hope the cicadas don’t attack while I’m there. :)

        May 30, 2013
      • The 12th ? I’ll be back by then. Just there for a few days.

        May 30, 2013
      • Ohhh, maybe I’ll drag my brother to that fun jungle-gym of yours then, hahah! When I showed him, he said… I’m not training to be a Navy Seal. Lol.

        May 30, 2013
  28. Reblogged this on dayatartupmagera.

    May 29, 2013
  29. If you study the little ones from eye to the tip of their beak – you come across such a wealth of colors!

    I love what you commented above about mockingbirds – they fear nothing! Also blackbirds – I was walking through a parking lot, when suddenly I felt my hair being tugged (it hurt!). I turned to my side and there was a little blackbird, perched on a car, giving me the eye as if to ask me to state my business, and would I be leaving anytime soon.

    A bird’s parental inclinations – you have to love it!

    May 29, 2013
    • Hah — that’s *exactly* what struck me, even in the camera’s tiny viewfinder… The depth and wealth of colors spreading across the tiny beak! Isn’t it glorious? You’re the first to comment on that, too… But that’s my absolute favorite part of the entire capture. Just brilliant.

      I adore our mockingbirds — they’re so FEISTY! I always talk to them, of course. I look absolutely crazy. And…. Heeee! LOVE your blackbird! I like to think she was trying to tell you something. Wow. That’s just fantastic. :)

      May 30, 2013
  30. At least these parents don’t have a cuckoo chick! Or the equivalent..a GIANT heron :) Absolutely gorgeous photos.

    May 30, 2013
    • Hahahha!! Thanks so much… They’re so sweet, aren’t they? And so ornery. I just loved ‘em! :)

      May 30, 2013
  31. Hi FeyGirl!
    I left your page open waiting for my son to come back from school. And when he did I showed him the pictures of these little puffs of adorable and read the text to him. He smiled when he saw those fuzzy things waiting for their Mama to return. You described them perfectly! Cantankerous and puffs of adorable evoke warm, fuzzy, giggly, and other sounds that middle-aged Aunties make when they see babies! Thanks for this excellent post. I can feel your heart’s thrill and overflow in seeing these tiny young ones so full of spirit and that certain oomph! :D I bet you laugh a lot when you’re out taking pictures! Sharon p.s. I’m pretty sure you told me your name once…is it Susanna? Suzanne? Shenandoah? Jelly-Beans? Give me one more chance to get it right ok! :D

    May 30, 2013
    • Aren’t they the sweetest? And seeing the scene unfold was just fantastic… Poor mama! She was in such a rush to fix the nest, attend to the babies — she was visibly harried! But the little ones would have NONE of it. :)

      And… HAHAH! Shenandoah! Jelly-beans, my favorite! It’s actually a bit more boring, though — Christina, or Christy for short. ;)

      May 30, 2013
      • Too late! Shenandoah is stuck on my mind! :D Thank you Christy. I promise to commit this name to memory from henceforth!

        May 30, 2013
      • Hahah! :) I personally love Shenandoah Jelly-bean. You’re sweet.

        May 31, 2013
  32. The perfect headline! Great photos.

    May 30, 2013
    • Thanks so very much! It really was a wonderful little snippet of a scene…. :)

      May 31, 2013
  33. This post earned a Bean’s Pat as blog of the day. Check it out at: http://patbean.wordpress.com

    May 30, 2013
    • Thanks so very much for sharing our ornery little guys! :)

      May 31, 2013
  34. Lol….I have always referred to the herons as my cranky birds…

    May 30, 2013
    • Hee, they really are loud, seemingly ornery guys, aren’t they? Especially the babies! Poor mamas (and dads, sorry — they do the work too!).

      May 31, 2013
  35. Had to weigh in to agree that your headline is perfect and as perfectly cute as your subjects!!

    May 31, 2013
    • Aw, thanks so very much! These were the guys in the front pond apple tree, the ones who nest there each year. Just adore them…. :)

      May 31, 2013
  36. I love a baby bird as much as the next person, but it’s the devotion of the parents that really gets to me. My blue jay babies still haven’t fledged, I guess. But the parents have come to my feeder for three years now – I don’t have a doubt it’s the same pair. I can’t even count the number of trips they make each day, starting just at sunrise and often pushing it to make “one more run” before the sun goes down.

    It makes me nervous when we have a real storm, wondering about the nests. But apparently they have the blueprints tucked in a drawer, and can make repairs “on the fly”!

    June 4, 2013
    • It’s truly amazing, to see the birds’ – all of them – devotion to the young. In the beating sun, in the rain, on a perfectly normal day…. I’m in continual awe. The amount of work that the parents exert in caring for their little ones is truly awe-some. And exhausting. I worry too, during the storms – but as evidenced here, they rebuild! And quickly….. :)

      July 18, 2013
  37. I like your phrase “cantankerous puffs of adorable.”

    June 10, 2013
    • Heh, thanks so very much!! The way this little one was behaving, was just that. It was a fantastic scene.

      July 18, 2013
  38. These are adorable! Very nice photos, enjoyed them very much! :O)

    June 14, 2013
    • Thanks so very much — I was incredibly lucky to have witnessed this little event. A day in the life… :)

      August 9, 2013
  39. Those are incredibly cute! : )

    July 1, 2013
    • Thanks so very much! I was incredibly lucky to spy them in the trees; they were so well hidden…..

      July 18, 2013
  40. Reblogged this on Spirit In Action and commented:
    This is my favourite blog of all time.I hope you will all check it out. Sometimes, living in an urban area, it is easy to forget how amazing and beautiful Florida really is. Serenity Spell is the perfect antidote for that:-)

    July 23, 2013

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