Monday, March 9, 2009

"Honey, I found the perfect stick for the nest!"

Today at noon I dropped by the rookery to see what the heron colony was doing. It was sunny and the sky was very blue...and once again, it was warm! Today was the first day I'd been to the heronry at noon, and boy was it hopping! At one point a male flew in carrying a stick and offered it to the female. She didn't object to it, and he placed it on the nest.

I love watching the big birds fly with 
sticks often as tall as they are!

He was very careful as he landed.

The female is checking it out. She seems to approve. 
I love the feather on top of her head. It looks like a big 
exclamation point, "Oh honey, it's lovely. Thank you!"

I like the mirror image of their bills and heads. 

Mr. Heron places the stick on the nest.

Mrs. Heron seems to approve!

When I'm at the heronry, I'm very far away. That's why the photos are so fuzzy...everything is cropped down. Herons are very sensitive to noise and human activity and will abandon rookeries if the mood doesn't suit them any more. It's also dangerous to go near a rookery. Herons will dive bomb predators with their bills, and a good skull piercing from an overprotective papa would not be fun! I also read they will throw up on predators to discourage them from coming any closer. Since their diet is mostly fish, that could get pretty gross!

17 comments:

Kallen305 said...

Kelly, those photos are not fuzzy, they are FANTASTIC!! I have never seen birds building their nest before so this is a real treat. I love how he presents the stick to her for inspection!! So cute and the perfect post for me to end the evening with!

BTW: My word verification is refos in a bubble font! LOL!

Kelly said...

Hi Kallan...I'm glad other people laugh over the word verification choices. I've had a few really strange ones... Thank you!!

Jayne said...

Even with the distance, those photos are so wonderful Kelley! So fascinating to see them in courtship and nest building. :c)

Laure Ferlita said...

There is something comforting(?) about how this ritual has gone on for hundreds of thousands of years and will continue to go on - the nest building, the courtship.

Just wonderful photos, and I agree with Kallen, they're not fuzzy. I am surprised at how sensitive they are though and am glad for your caution.

Roy said...

It looks like it might have been windy, what with their crests seeming to be blowing around. How lucky you are to have such an active heronry near you.

E said...

Kelly, they are beautiful, a joy to see, nature at its best and you got it.
Wonderful pics and very well done. Thanks for sharing them. Love. Enita

Kelly said...

Jayne...I really enjoy watch their behavior. There is so much to learn.

Laure...you are so right. You see the rituals over and over....and they will continue on as long as the birds do....

Roy...yes, it was windy. I love what it was doing to their feathers...especially the one on top!

Enita....thank you! I wish I could spend all my time watching and photographing nature...wouldn't that be fun!!!

Modesto Viegas said...

Very good!!!

Steve said...

Kelly, the photos are excellent, keep taking them. We may have a pair of Grey Herons starting to nest in the park.

The Early Birder said...

Amazing to see how they arrange a pile of sticks in such precarious locations.
Word verification was "substock"! Your photos were FAB.

Shellmo said...

How exciting to observe! The photos you captured of this is wonderful! I feel like I have a personal glimpse into their lives!

Kelly said...

Modesto...Thank you! I visited your site...beautiful photos!

Steve...thanks! That would be wonderful if they would nest near you. You could keep track of their progress for us.

Early Birder...I thought the same thing. How on earth can these survive high winds and storms, but they do. They survived hurricane-strength winds last fall. Substock...ack! :-)

Shelley...thanks! Visiting them often has really been cool. It is like becoming part of the family!

NW Nature Nut said...

Your post title and quotes are great. I'm enjoying watching the nest building process.

Kelly said...

Thanks, Nature Nut!! :-)

Heather said...

Kelly, I'm so jealous of your photos. I can't even crop my photos in close enough to make out much. We haven't kept up with our colony of herons at Lake Hope very well. Now that the time change has happened, we'll have time to go over after dinner, which we may try to do this week. In the meantime, I'll enjoy watching YOUR herons!

Oh, here's another weird word verification: "paphatog". What the...?!

Kelly said...

Paphatog! Sounds like something out of Jabberwocky. As long as the leaves stay tight in their casings, I'll be able to take photos, but soon..... I can't wait to go back for more. And I'm looking forward to your Lake Hope photos too...

Mary said...

I'm looking through all your heron photos. Now that I have a rookery to watch, too, I'm learning from yours :-) Great photos! I love these of them bringing in the sticks. My rookery is pretty far from where I can take photos, so I haven't had any shots this good yet.