Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our babies are growing up!

This afternoon I went to the heronry to check on the babies. As soon as I got out of the car I could hear that wonderful sound the babies make as they cry out for food and their "voices" all blend together. I am always surprised how far the sound carries and how unique it is. If you didn't know better, you would think you were near a pond on a summer's night, because the peculiar, low-level croaking conjures images of hundreds of baby frogs. Every now and then a large croak or bark comes from one of the parents, but mostly it's just the chicks' nonstop request for food! Today, some of the babies were big enough to sit up in the nests, so I got a really good look at them. Many already resemble their parents and even look like miniature Big Blues! While looking at them through the binocs, I noticed I could see their little necks vibrating as they cried out, waiting for mama or papa to feed them. 

See the little pouch under his bill? As each baby 
demanded dinner, the pouch would vibrate with their cries. 
It was an unusual sight, and they cried endlessly! 


Even though babies are in the nest, papas are still 
dropping off sticks for nest construction. I guess 
you can never have too many sticks in your nest!


This mama has three babies to feed, and 
these are the largest babies in all the nests.  


Since the heronry is made up of a colony of many birds, 
quite a large age discrepancy exists between the babies. 
Some couples had already formed bonds in February, 
while others, like our First Heron (from our first heron post), 
did not yet have a mate and were only starting to construct 
their nests. You can tell that the baby in this nest 
is much younger than many of the other babies.

P.S. I used Rick's older camera to take these photos because I had forgotten to charge the battery, but I think this camera might take better photos. I'll have to experiment and test out the camera (same lens).

28 comments:

Roy said...

My goodness, they sure are growing! They'll be trying out their wings before you know it. great shots!

Greener Bangalore said...

WOW!! Kelly you have some wonderful pictures and blog looks very green green..i am loving it.......

Kelly said...

Roy...they are growing like crazy (and so are the leaves on the trees). I wonder how much longer we will be able to see them...

Greener...thank you very much! It is green around here now. The leaves are all emerging and the rain is keeping all the plants happy! Thanks for stopping by.

The Early Birder said...

FAB pics Kelly & the descriptive sounds from the baby Blues. You are fortunate that there appeard to be much less foliage than over here...I suppose our spring is more advanced. Lol FAB

Kallen305 said...

Wow! They are growing up fast. You took fantastic shots of the whole thing. It makes me excited to see the baby herons here once they make their appearance. I love how you give updates on these birds. It was worth the wait just to see them standing up in their nest.

Jayne said...

Those are such wonderful images Kelley. I've not been back to our heronry here, and would guess that the nests are hardly visible now with all the trees fully leafed out.

Laure Ferlita said...

Truly amazing to see how quickly the nestlings become fledglings! The shots are gorgeous, as always!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

These are wonderful photos! This post reminds me that I really need to drive up to Cuyhoga Valley National Recreation Area to see the heronry there. Thanks for stopping by--I'm always happy to make new birding & blogging friends!

Ginnymo said...

Oh wow! It's so neat to them growing. They sure are awesome birds. Great photos Kelly. Maybe the male has to keep reinforcing the nest because they wear it out going in and out and with the babies. I always worry about the baby birds falling out.

Dale Forbes said...

the last shot is wonderful - great colours.


Dale
http://alpinebirds.blogspot.com

Abe Lincoln said...

Such beautiful birds. I am lucky to even spot a nest here but then none of mine are ever this large either. I like herons and don't really know much about them. But you sure have some nice photos here.

holdingmoments said...

Great post and pictures Kelly.
They certainly work hard at building those nests, and they're so strong too, to take all the weight. Master builders!
Like Frank says, the ones round here are unfortunatley hidden by the leaves now.

Warren Baker said...

I hope your there to see them fledge Kelly.

Kelly said...

FAB...I'm counting down they days until Mother Nature veils them from our view. The Sycamores are the last to leaf out, but the bud just broke, so the leaves will soon follow. You are definitely ahead of us, about a month to 3 three weeks.

Kim...thank you. I'm going to have to update quickly, because as I said in Frank's comment above, the leaves will wait for no one!

Jayne...if they are in Sycamores, you're okay, but other trees have probably burst already.

Thanks, Laure! I know....I was surprised how big the babies had gotten. It will be fun to watch them learn to fly!!

Adrienne...thank you for stopping by. It's always great to meet another Ohio bird watcher. It's amazing how different our climates are, though, even though we live in the same state!

Ginny...you're probably right. They probably instinctually reinforce the nest to protect the babies and make it harder for them to fall out.

Dale...thank you! I wish I had a lens to get a little closer, but that's something I can work towards!

Thanks, Abe. We are so lucky to have this heronry just a few miles from our house. It makes it easy to visit them regularly and they have become even more special to me. I have learned a lot about them over the past couple of months.

Thanks, Keith...you are so right. They reuse the nests from year to year, and this September the nests withstood hurricane force winds, sustained for 3 hours. I thought the heronry would be decimated, but it was still standing. Some of the smaller nests had been shaken loose, but none of the large nests.

Kelly said...

Warren...your comment snuck in while I was answering the other. I hope to be there too. To be able to catch them learning to fly on camera would be wonderful, but even if I can't. I'd just like to watch as they learn. It must be a spectacular sight. I hope the leaves haven't totally blocked the view...

Montanagirl said...

Don't they grow up so fast? Kind of like the baby GH Owl we're keeping an eye on. Great photos!

Heather said...

Awww, that baby in that first photo is just precious! Thanks for the update!

Mary said...

Wow..these are so great!

Uncommon Depth said...

Aww...those are so adorable. Really terrific images!

Roy said...

Great shots Kelly, they are getting big.
Its the quality of the lens that makes the image anyway, megapixels and processors aren't quite so important providing they are basically similar.

Vickie said...

Great images of the nests and families. Its wonderful that you can see them so well and are able to share it with us.

E said...

Beautiful creatures of God, wow, how big now, Kelly, love your pics, Rick's camera in your hands, did also a perfect job. Hugs.

Kelly said...

Montanagirl....I know...so fast....and I love your owl photos. I'm looking forward to your next set.

Heather, Mary and Roberta....thank you!! Those babies are as sweet as can be, aren't they...

Roy...so true. Thank goodness I have a fairly decent lens. It may not be that powerful, but it's steady, which lets me crop a lot.

Vickie...thank you. I'm so happy we have this close by so I can visit frequently.

Enita...thank you. By the time you get up for you next visit they will be even bigger...maybe even fledged!

Chris said...

Gosh Kelly, yes they are growing up like crazy. It is amazing that they are already doing so well. We are just starting May after all!!! Great shots and documentary about their growing phase. Thanks for sharing this nice moment.

Steve said...

They've grown since the last picture Kelly. It looks like they should be out and about soon.

Shellmo said...

Do you think the father continues to bring sticks to reinforce the nest for his growing babies? Very cute photos!!

troutbirder said...

What a fascinating collection. I feel almost like I was there to see the rookerie in person. Thanks!

Kelly said...

Chris...thank you...I can't believe how quickly the babies are growing. They must consume an enormous amount of food...

Steve...you're right. I hope the rains don't move in and prevent photos of their progress. I don't mind standing out in the rain with a raincoat on, but my camera's not too keen on it!

Shelley....I was thinking about that. Maybe they do to continue to build up the sides so the babies don't fall out...

Thank you, Troutbirder! I think I time now with them is limited as I'm sure the leaves won't hold back for long!!