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The Nesting Great Blues

I’m lucky to have close access to the Green Cay and Wakodahatchee Wetlands (Seminole for “created waters”), and when we’re not able to hike the Everglades or some of the other far-reaching natural area, a stroll around these boardwalks will soothe my spirits. It’s full-on nesting and baby season, and while I’ve posted some pics of the anhingas and others (the baby gators I’ve yet to post), I’ve saved the biggest for last: the ever-so-graceful Great Blue Herons. Their displays at the rookery fuel the attentions of every amateur and professional photographer and birdwatcher for miles, and the meek (*me*) have no place if it’s crowded…which is fine, because while the herons are divine, there’s plenty of other loveliness to be found when no one’s looking.

The Great Blue parents share the responsibilities of feeding their young at the nest, by hunting on a full-time schedule and regurgitating the food. The battle for food is brutal among the chicks; the first to hatch is more experienced in food handling, and consequently grows more quickly than the others. Such aggression in the interaction with the sibling chicks (as well as the discrepancy in size) can be seen at the Wakodahatchee rookeries, where the humans root for the younger, weaker chicks that consistently lose after fierce battles for food. This particular nest had two young herons β€” there initially may have been more eggs however, because we spied an iguana lurking in the depths of the rookery, obviously looking for eggs to steal.

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The size discrepancy of the chicks often dictates the winner of the food…

The end of a fierce struggle for food…

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Blue Herons have always been one of my favorites. Maybe because they were one of the first of the larger birds my father introduced me to

    April 3, 2012
  2. They really are amazingly beautiful and graceful birds β€” while this particular park (the wetlands) is smaller in scope, I love to see them in the expanse of the Everglades. So striking and elegant.

    April 3, 2012
  3. Found it! I have seen this bird up close. Spent hours watching it; tracked it from pond to pond. waited to hear it spread its wings and take flight – what a beautiful big thlunking whoosh whoosh sound it makes; its great big wings thrusting into the air like giant oars moving heavy water.
    And yet, I have never quite seen colours on the bird like your pictures bring out. What an amazing melange of browns and greys.
    Magnificent pictures!! Truly!. I am so glad I found your blog! Thank you for bringing back warm memories of a beautiful bird.

    April 18, 2012
    • Oh yay! Aren’t they just AMAZING? I adore them… So elegant, graceful β€” and HUGE! (I believe technically, the largest of the wading birds.) In flight, they’re other-worldly to witness. Their colors are truly some of my favorites, too. You’re so kind, *profuse* thanks!!!

      April 18, 2012
  4. Reblogged this on LifeDelicacy's Blog and commented:
    Happy Earth Day let’s help protect our home, every step counts! xo

    April 22, 2012
  5. Wow – these photos are just stunning.

    April 23, 2012
    • Thanks so very much! I’m lucky to have such a lovely canvas; the Great Blues are amazing birds to photograph, with their coloring and structure.

      April 23, 2012
  6. Beautiful images. πŸ™‚

    April 23, 2012
    • Thanks so much! It’s a lovely canvas. πŸ™‚

      April 23, 2012

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