A young Tricolored Heron waits in his nest for his next meal. I took this photo on June 10, 2010 at the rookery on Pinckney Island in Hilton Head, SC (my favorite place to be in early June). It was so hot and steamy and wonderful that day...the sun was intense, the insects were loud, and the thousands of birds on nests were even louder.
If I lived in Hilton Head or anywhere near Pinckney Island, I would be useless. Day after day I would just prowl around Ibis Pond watching, painting and photographing birds. It's Heaven...
Oh no! Is something stuck in his throat?
Nahh...I just photographed him mid "gular flutter." Since birds don't sweat like we do, they need another way to dissipate the heat building up in their bodies. Most simply pant, but others, such as herons, pelicans, cormorants, nighthawks, owls, and even blue jays have the ability to vibrate the muscles in their upper throats (gular area) to speed evaporation from their respiratory tract through their open mouths. When the temp is pushing 100 degrees, you get to see a lot of gular fluttering at the rookery!!