Some sights from this morning’s rounds.
Bluebird getting ready to start nesting.
White-eyed Vireo pauses long enough for me to capture an image.
The Great Blue Heron chicks are getting big, and constantly demanding food.
The adult–both male and female take turns at the nest while the other one hunts–tries to scratch and junior takes advantage of the opportunity to grab the beak as if it were feeding.
At another nest, this chick is almost full grown. Originally there were three chicks in this nest, but the dominate youth killed off the other two to eliminate the competition for food.
Great Egret nesting is in full swing. This adult displays the mating ritual over and over, hoping to attract a mate. Both male and female Great Egrets have the “bridal gown” during mating season.
Poised to begin the ritual.
Beak reaches for the sky.
Then, retracing so abruptly it shakes the tree.
Finally, preening. Afterwards the ritual starts over again.
While this Great Egret works to attract a mate, others have already paired up and are building nests.
Several trips are made to complete the nest, and great care is taken in selecting a suitable stick.
Instead of choosing a stick from the ground, one Egret decides this dead tree holds some nice offerings. However, the tree isn’t dead, it simply hasn’t leafed out yet and a tug of war ensues. Soon the Egret gives up and joins the others on the ground.
All the trouble was worth it, as the bird claims a fine stick for the nest.
One Egret retrieves a stick, hands it to the other who then weaves it into the nest. The process goes on for several days, until the nest is built to their satisfaction.
All the commotion has a Snowy Egret excited as well. It, the Little Blue Herons, Night Herons, and other smaller wading birds will be next to begin nesting.
Meanwhile, a mile away…a Bald Eagle has its version of morning coffee: Starting the day by sitting in a favorite tree and surveying its territory before going out to hunt. It too, has young ones to feed.