Category Archives: Juvenile Birds

Little Blue Heron Flight School

Adult Little Blue Herons teach their young to fly by encouraging them, sometimes with food, out to the end of a branch. The adult then takes off, hoping the juvenile will follow.

Little Blue Heron Flight School
Little Blue Heron Flight School

Although the juveniles have been venturing onto the branches for a couple of weeks, In the beginning actually lifting off is a tough sell.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

Many of the families have three or four chicks and the sibling competition seems to spur them on. This fellow appeared to be an only child, or maybe the others have already moved on.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

“I don’t know if I can do this!”

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

Success! It was a short hop but he made it and landed successfully.

Green Reflections

A pair of Juvenile Snowy Egrets were using the alligator platform to practice strutting their stuff.

Juvenile Snowy Egrets
Juvenile Snowy Egrets

Their reflections were interrupted by the duckweed, but I liked the tree reflections across the water.

Juvenile Snowy Egrets
Juvenile Snowy Egrets

This platform sits just off one of the islands where several Snowy Egrets nested. We could hear them but have rarely seen them.

Juvenile Little Blue Herons

The juvenile Little Blue Herons are spreading out away from their nests and just when one thinks he has found his own piece of paradise he gets company.

Juvenile Little Blue Herons
Juvenile Little Blue Herons

These sticks are from a dead branch that fell in a storm earlier this summer and it makes an easy landing spot for the young birds. Unfortunately it provides no protection from alligators that could easily lurch out of the water and snatch one of them.

Juvenile Little Blue Herons
Juvenile Little Blue Herons

This section of the pond is choked with duckweed and the alligators travel easily  unseen beneath it. Even if they do see a predator the herons rarely take evasive action.

Juvenile Little Blue Herons
Juvenile Little Blue Herons

There are no ducks around to eat the duckweed right now and the conditions seem to be perfect for it to thrive, making for very green photographs.

Juvenile Little Blue Herons
Juvenile Little Blue Herons

Test flights: Black-crowned Night Heron

The Black-crowned Night Herons built their nests on the interior of the swamp’s islands so we haven’t seen much of the juveniles. A few weeks ago they started to venture out onto branches and this week we’ve seen some fly.

This one dropped down near the path giving me an opportunity for a portrait. His eyes haven’t yet turned to the characteristic red that makes this heron really stand out as an adult.

Black-crowned Night-Heron Juvenile
Black-crowned Night-Heron Juvenile

Taking a longer flight, this heron flew to the next island, showing off his sizable feet. Like the Great Blue Herons, the Night Herons seem to be on their own learning to fly.

Black-crowned Night-Heron Juvenile
Black-crowned Night-Heron Juvenile

He found a perch and stayed with it.  He had a great spot for watching the Little Blue Herons work on their flying lessons.

Black-crowned Night-Heron Juvenile
Black-crowned Night-Heron Juvenile

Foot Loose Little Blue Herons

The juvenile Little Blue Heron are more mobile, but most of them still weren’t flying on this day about a week ago. They are venturing further away from their nests and their feet were in full view.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

As I developed these photographs I noticed how many ways they use those feet, often digging their nails in for support or to climb a branch.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Head on shots of birds rarely look like much, but in this one the Little Blue’s feet are nicely lined up and show off how long his nails are.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

They don’t need a very big branch to hang on to.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

As we were leaving the rookery this adult Little Blue landed above us giving another foot view.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron Chicks Exploring

After being away for a week we visited the swamp our first day back. The Heron and Egret chicks grow so fast I was eager to see what had changed and who might have moved on.

Little Blue Heron Chick
Little Blue Heron Chicks

In the Little Blue Heron rookery the chicks had gone from the protection of their nests on the interior of the island to exploring nearby branches.

Little Blue Heron Chick
Little Blue Heron Chick Over the Water

The chick above was in a risky spot out over the pond where an alligator could jump up and snatch him.  The chick’s flying skills aren’t established yet so just lifting up may not be an option.

Little Blue Heron Chick
Little Blue Heron Chick

The Little Blue Heron chicks seem to have more interest in their surroundings than the Great Blue Herons we have watched at the same age.

Little Blue Heron Chick
Little Blue Heron Chick Looking Around

An intense thunder storm moved in so we did not make it to the rookery to check on the Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons on this day.

Only Child Keeping Busy

What do you do in the nest all by yourself, hour after hour, waiting for the folks to bring a meal?

Pace back and forth.

Great Blue Heron Chick
Great Blue Heron Chick – click photo for larger view

Check out the corners of the nest.

Great Blue Heron Chick
Great Blue Heron Chick

Try out some new poses.

Great Blue Heron Chick
Great Blue Heron Chick – click photo for larger view

Test your vocal capacity.

Great Blue Heron Chick
Great Blue Heron Chick – click photo for larger view

Personal grooming.

Great Blue Heron Chick
Great Blue Heron Chick

I have not seen this chick leave the nest although I’m sure he could. He hatched about the same time as some others that have learned to use their wings.

June 2, 2017

Time to Wake Up!

Great Egret chicks number two was resting comfortably on his pile of sticks. If you look closely you can see his eye is open, but he wasn’t moving.

Great Egret Chicks
Great Egret Chicks in nest – click photo for larger view

Number one is up and wants the world to know.

Great Egret Chicks
Great Egret Chicks in nest – click photo for larger view

“OK, I’m up. Now what are we going to do?”

Great Egret Chicks
Great Egret Chicks in nest – click photo for larger view

The egret and heron chicks spend weeks in the nest with no where to go and not much to do. When they get older I’ve seen them spar with each other once in awhile. Otherwise, getting fed and growing is their main order of business. Oh, and sleeping.

Synchronized Staring

All together now, everybody look to your right.

Great Blue Heron Chicks
Juvenile Great Blue Herons – click photo for larger view

Now split, and hold that position.

Great Blue Heron Chicks
Juvenile  Great Blue Herons  – click photo for larger view

Now everybody look to your left.

Great Blue Heron Chicks
Juvenile  Great Blue Herons – click photo for larger view

The juvenile Great Blue Herons learn the “stare and pose” routine early on. These two occasionally are like synchronized swimmers as they scan the perimeter.

May 17, 2017.