Monday, May 18, 2009

Baby Blue isn't a baby any more!

On the 14th I visited the heronry again only to find the Sycamore leaves had opened almost overnight. The huge trees had been very obliging up to this point by being the last to open, but now they too were budding out. On top of that, the babies had grown! They were so big now they were practically pushing mama and papa out of the nests. Some nests had three and even four chicks in them. How these babies stay put and don't fall out is anyone's guess. While I was there the wind was very strong, and it looked as if one baby would be buffeted out of the nest, but he held tight, taking the winds in stride. Mama and papa didn't seem too worried either. 

For Heaven's sake Baby Blue...get down and stay down. 
It's windy out, and you're standing on the edge of the nest!

It looked like there were two babies in this nest, but as 
the back baby settled down in the nest, two more chicks 
popped up...four babies in one of the smaller nests.

I have no idea how Great Blue Heron babies fledge. I've never been able to witness it in past years because the leaves always come out in full force and obscure our views. Do they hop from branch to branch after climbing out of a nest? Do they jump and soar after mama? Tomorrow morning I'm heading back over to see if any of the babies are ready to leave the nest. Maybe I'll get to watch one fledge! I've read it usually takes three months from the start of incubation to fledging. In this past post,  we can see that on March 6, 2009, four of our Great Blue Herons were sitting on eggs, so it won't be long now!


Poor papa. He no sooner landed in the nest than all 
three babies popped up mobbing him (or her, maybe 
it's mama) for food. They would thrust their bills high 
and sometimes catch their parent's bill in theirs. 

p.s. You may notice the photos are a little blurrier than usual. This is because the nonstop winds kept tossing me around too, making it hard to stand still and get a crisp shot. I guess on very windy days, a tripod would be much better than a monopod!

20 comments:

wildlife said...

I hope you get to see them fledge, Kelly.

Awesome post, I've never seen herons on a nest. I must try to find out where they nest; we have so many here in the city. (They fish side by side with the anglers in the canals)

yen said...

That is an interesting find Kelly. Thanks for stopping by.

hip chick said...

Wow! that is pretty neat.

Jayne said...

It is amazing that they are so big in that nest! It would be interesting to see them fledge.

Kelly said...

Wildlife...I hope I get to see them fledge. If I do you'll know. I'll post lots of photos.

yen...thank you!

Hip...thanks!!

Jayne...they must do a lot of snuggling. That's all I can think of! I hope I get to see something, but I have a feeling the leaves will prevent most of the views.

Mary said...

Wow..you are so much closer to your heron babies! The greeny trees make it a lot harder now, too. Great shots! I love that baby swan with the "spaghetti" head below! So cute!

Roy said...

It is amazing how they can stay on the nest Kelly, as they are very light birds.

Laure Ferlita said...

3 months?! Wow! That seems a long time when I think how fast the songbirds hatch and fledge. And these babies are huge!

OH, well, what do we know? They seem to have it figured out!

Roy said...

Great! I hope you're around when they take the first leap into the unknown.

About using a tripod on a windy day... I've found that it makes no real difference. If the wind can blow you around, it can also shake the the tripod, even when you attach weight to the little loop at the bottom of the central shaft. Do I know this from experience? Unfortunately!

Shellmo said...

It is incredible how they all fit in that nest - those big babies! I hope you do get to witness them fledging and capturing some photos. I love these birds!

holdingmoments said...

Certainly does make you wonder how they stay there in strong winds.
Hope you get to see them fledge; something I've never witnessed before.

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

That would be beyond cool to see them fledge- like huge planes taking off!

Ginnymo said...

Awesome shots of them Kelly!! They sure grew fast!! But birds do I guess. My Cockatiel was flying at four weeks. Amazing! I love seeing all these photos of the baby birds now!! Thanks for going out there in the wind for us..Ha!

Steve B said...

It doesn't seem like it has been that long. Where did the time go?

Bradley Myers said...

I really enjoyed your post, the big blues around here are not aclimated to people, so they are a little more difficult to photograph.

Kelly said...

...thanks everyone! It's always great to read what everyone has to say! Today I saw them practicing...flapping wings and jump-flying to another branch!

Kallen305 said...

OMG Kelly so sweet!!! They look so cute in the nest w/ their parents. Lucky you for getting shots as close as that. It reminds me I need to check up on mine!

Chris said...

Wow, no they are not babies anymore and they are almost ready to fly away from dad and mom. Gorgeous. I love thi story of the rookery. fascinating!

Modesto Viegas said...

Good work in an interesting blog!
Regards

Heather said...

Kelly, this is amazing! I really love that shot where the parent bird just came in w/food and all the babies are scrambling to be the one fed. Wow, I thought our little Phoebes were crammed in their nest - these guys are really packed in there, and so big at that! I'm glad you were able to get a look at them before the leaves made it too difficult to see.