Birding on Hilton Head Island and Pinckney Island NWF…continued from Sunday's post on the Little Blue Heron.These Little Blue Heron chicks held me spellbound. They were so small they could barely keep their thunky heads upright on their spindly little necks, much less clamber around on the branches, but that’s exactly what they were doing. Climbing and stumbling over each other, they were not content to stay safely tucked away in their nest.
I might be hungry. I might want food.
I'm definitely hungry. I want food NOW!!!
These little chicks will remain white through their first year of life. Immature Little Blue Herons are unique in the heron world because of this first-year color morph. If you look closely you can see a dark blue-grey tipped primary feather on his wing. It's sometimes hard to see.
...can you see that blue-grey tipped feather here? It's a little harder to see in this photo.
Bock! I'm hungry!
Bock! Now I'm doing my rooster imitation. Time to get up!
Dude, can you ever just chill? Enough with the rooster imitation.
Quit pushing me. I want to see if these things work yet!
Why do the chicks remain white during their first year? Click here to go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" site. In their Cool Facts section, they explain Little Blue Herons often nest near Snowy Egrets and the Snowies tolerate the young more if they are white, plus the immature white-morphed Little Blues seem to catch more fish when they are with Snowy Egrets than when they are fishing alone. It just so happens that the neighbors of these three Little Blue Heron chicks were Snowy Egrets. In addition, the white Little Blue Herons can more easily blend in with larger mixed-species flocks of white herons, which offers them a little more protection from ever-present predators!