Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The baby Tricolored Heron with the pale bill...

This little Tricolored Heron had two nest mates. Of the three he was the only one with a completely yellow/pale bill (actually, he was the only Tricolored Heron on the island with a completely yellow/pale bill). At first I thought he might be the youngest of the brood, and his bill was still pale because of that, but I looked it up in The Birds of North America Online and found that by day 11 the upper mandible is dark gray. It also says that by day 24 the head, neck and body are covered with reddish feathers, so it looks as if our little guy is at least 24 days old. I guess our little Tricolored Heron is just a bit different...sort of like Rudolf (but I'm not going to call him that!). Are there any experts out there that know about pale bills on Tricolored Herons?

A young Tricolored Heron with a pale bill.

When I first found him in the camera's lens I did a double-take. None of the other Tricolored Herons of similar size had yellow/pale bills. He was beautiful and I kept coming back to him (and I took many more photos of him than the other two because he was so interesting).

His bill was a bit smaller than the other two herons' bills, and he might be a touch smaller too, but mostly all three were close to the same size.

"Pale Bill" and his two nestlings with dark gray bills.

I still have several fun photos from Pinckney Island in Hilton Head, SC to post from our trip last June, so I'll keep popping them in now and then. These were photographed on 6/13/2010, and it was very warm!! (Click here for all of the 2010 Pinckney Island posts.)

29 comments:

Gail said...

Wow! Really great pictures!

Kelly said...

...thanks, Gail!

Lois Evensen said...

Amazing pictures as yours always are! I love his eyes, too, watching you carefully to be sure you are getting good angles for his portrait.

Margaret said...

Fascinating. It will be interesting to see if anyone knows the answer to the pale bill.

ShySongbird said...

I can't answer your questions Kelly but what delightful photos! Stunningly beautiful :)

freebird said...

Wow, these are stunning photos and he is such a charmer!

Shelley said...

For some reason, I just want to hug him! Beautiful photos - you made him loveable!

Andy Wilson said...

Outstanding! The little guy cracks me up.

Toni said...

Kelly these photos are so darn cute!!! Love their coloring.

Peg said...

These guys are so cute and look so innocent. But make me think what they say about puppies growing into the size of their big paws. Look at the size of the beaks on these babies.

Kelly said...

...thanks, Lois! I think he was...he certainly gave me good poses!

Margaret...I'd like to know if it's common...or not. I'd like to see another one some day because he was so striking!

Songbird...thank you!! I'm sure the naturalists out there will know.

Timaree...thank you! He certainly charmed me! For days...I saw him ever time I was there that week.

Shelley...I totally want to hug him too...he's beautiful. it was hard to take the camera lens off him.

Andy...thanks! I know what you mean. These baby face are just amazing.

Thanks, Toni!! I do too...

Peg...haha! Thank you!

Montanagirl said...

Terrific images Kelly! I love his spikey do. Would love to have follow-up on the pale bill.

Elaine said...

I just love these guys! The first shot is very appealing. Nicely done!

Roy said...

Very amusing shots Kelly.

Wanda..... said...

You capture so much more than just the physical body in your photos, Kelly...they are so expressive. Do you communicate with these birds to get such special poses for your photos?

Janice K said...

Oh so cute! Not only the yellow bill and pale eyes, but look at that hair/feathers standing straight up on top of his head.

Great pictures!

Out on the prairie said...

These little ones are so neat, very primitive looking to me.

Kerri said...

"Pale Bill" has capture my heart! This entire post has! You made some gorgeous images and it looks like some wondeful memories as well :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

HI There, We are home after a few days with friends in North Carolina.

Gorgeous pictures of the 3 little Herons.. I always love your pictures.

Hope you are having a good week.
Hugs,
Betsy

oldcrow61 said...

What a beautiful bird. The pictures are fantastic.

Marvin said...

Awesome photos and a mystery too. Great work, Kelly.

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Greetings from Southern California.

I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

God Bless You, ~Ron

troutbirder said...

Adorable in a gawky sort of way. I saw my first tri colors (at a distance) at Ding Darling at few weeks ago. My Peterson was so old I labeled them Louisian somethings. My birding mentor told me their range had expanded since my dated book! And a name change went with it.

Kelly said...

Mona...I emailed Jim McCormac and he feels it's an anomaly or the bird may be younger than we think. Either way...he's definitely different!

Thanks, Elaine!!

Roy...hehe...they are pretty gangly at this age!

Wanda...haha! I do talk to them very quietly, but these guys were pretty far away so I don't think they heard me. I use a yoga breathing technique and on the exhale, I soften my facial muscles and relax to help remove any extra movement to reduce vibrations. Mostly, it's the camera, the lens...and the Force! Thank you...

Janice...thank you! I know what you mean. Those baby plumes are so cute!!

Betsy...sounds like you had a good V-day trip!

crow...thank you!!

Marvin...thank you...if I make it back this summer I'll definitely be looking for Pale Bill to see if he survived the same way into adulthood!

Geezer...thanks for joining up! I'll drop over to your blog...Southern California! Lucky you!!

Trout...I have an Audubon print in my living room called "Louisiana Heron" ...and that's the name I learned a long time ago for Tricolored too. I also learned "Rufous-sided Towhee" instead of "Eastern Towhee!" :-)

Steve...you are so right...like walking dinosaurs!!

Kerri....so many memories. Even though it was 100 degrees, the sights and sounds are so amazing I sat out and baked for hours just to see as much as I could. Thank you!

John (Tucker) said...

Nice hair doo on the Tri-color. Such a beautiful bird as an adult. Nice photos

eileeninmd said...

How cute! Cool photos and a great sighting.

E said...

Love these pics, they are awesome.
Thanks for sharing, Kelly.
Did you see this?
http://www.ted.com/talks/einstein_the_parrot_talks_and_squawks.html

Hilke Breder said...

These are absolutely stunning photos, Kelly. You can see their ancestry in dinosaurs.

Mike B. @ slugyard.com said...

Amazing shots! We have herons nesting near our house right now- I can't get anywhere near this close though.