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Date: 3 August 2023. Leaving the Nest (green herons grow up)

janice142


One of the best parts of living on the water is having a front row seat to the natural world surrounding my Seaweed. Watching the green heron protect her nest has been fascinating. I had never heard the mournful cry of a green heron until Isis seemed to be too interested in those eggs in one small nest. I was able to encourage Isis the snowy egret to leave by shooting water at her with a giant syringe. I wrote about that in the
I'm an Auntie (green heron nest) article. The cry of the green heron was silenced until one night at Oh-dark-thirty.
 

Here is a picture of the MOM ↓ sitting on the nest before her three chicks hatched:


During that first week it was relatively easy to take pictures of the ↓ CHICKS due to them staying in the nest.

The
CHICKS ↑ did stay hidden. The beak is small, thus this picture shows  Day One of life in mangroves.
 

I took a lot of pictures of the nestlings... here are a few
taken during their first week of life in the mangrove tree:

 

The FLUFF BALLS

CUTIES
visible

KIDS ↑ on nest

SITTING in nest
(Click on the pictures for a full-sized version)


Each day I verified that all three hatchlings were present. Though my picture taking skills could use improvement, the chicks all remained for the first week. One always tucked itself to the far left side of the nest.



The kids are on the nest waiting for mom. Only the beak of the third nestling shows in this picture.


Then, late at night while working on the fiasco described in the
Fixing Amazon Links article, I once again heard the mournful cry of the mom bird. I immediately left my desk/dinette to see if I could locate the source of her distress.
 

 

Atop the boat lift railing I spotted Ella the Great Blue Heron. Ella was
staring down into the mangrove where the mom green heron was crying.

 
The boat lift is right next to the mangrove trees:

 

Here is a picture a great blue heron in the mangrove.

 


When I heard the cry of our mom green heron I knew exactly what to do. I retrieved my giant water syringe. The squirt gizmo is tucked up above the life jackets in my cockpit.
 

The SYRINGE is stowed in the overhead of my cockpit.


I immediately shot water toward the great blue. Ella flew off to the west. When I saw her sitting at the top of the mangrove I again squirted water. Ella disappeared. The green heron quieted so I went inside.


Five minutes later I again heard the green heron mom's mournful cry. Though I could not see the great blue heron, I sprayed water over the top of the mangroves in wide arches. The mom again was quiet. Since that terrible night I have only seen two nestlings. Nature is not always fluffy bunnies and sweet baby green herons growing to adulthood.
 

A green heron glares in this picture taken previously.


The "stay in the nest all the time" phase lasted about one week.
 

Watching the young ones grow has been a pleasure.

(click on pictures for full sized version)


By the beginning of week two the chicks were leaving the nest. They hopped around on the branches of the trees. Though appearing ungainly, I never saw them slip nor stumble. Taking a picture of the duo in the mangroves proved impossible. Finally they discovered the dock.



One chick is directly behind the other. You can see the long neck as he observes me.
 

After that initial pterodactyl stage of life the nestlings began to explore outside of the nest. They were all legs and appeared quite ungainly. 



 

The two kids spent a lot of time hanging out on the dock. They did duck into the mangrove trees regularly too.
 

 
They grow so quickly...
(all photos on my site can be clicked to enlarge)



The chicks are looking up for a reason. They want mom.
 

There is a NIGHT HERON ↓ on the second story railing watching the world. The night herons do not bother the ↓ GREEN HERONS.

One CHICK is visible on the dock. The other had just ducked into the mangroves.


The mom does ignore her kids.



The TAIL END OF THE MOM is just to the left of my davit (far right side of picture) looking away from her ↑ YOUNG ONE.
 

Mom regularly stood there just out of reach of the hungry chicks.
Finally however she would fly down and the kids would eat.



It has been amazing to me how rapidly these chicks have gone from
fluff balls to flying. By the start of week three they were flying freely.
 


Watching the young ones has been such a pleasure. As I returned yesterday to Seaweed one of the kids was on my bow rail. She flew across the canal and landed near her nest mate. I was quite proud that. They have quite literally spread their wings. Soon the duo will be gone forever, establishing their own domain somewhere along the shoreline.
 

Life is so good on the waterfront.  Thank you for reading.
 

Are all green herons so timid/skittish?
And, do you feed any wild birds near your home?
 

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2023

Category:  Wild Things,

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