Adult Little Blue Herons actively teach their young how to fly, encouraging them to take off by demonstrating and often tempting them to the end of branches with food. This adult and the juvenile on the right had their legs intertwined so I thought for sure the juvenile would launch.
The juvenile of this trio on the left had at least a short hop down as he arrived from a nearby tree after I started taking these images. The adult took off.
None of the three juveniles followed the parent.
After a little squabble the three settled down to wait for the adult to return for another try.
As we approached the turnaround on one of the dikes in the wildlife management area we were visiting a juvenile Black Vulture stood in the middle of the road. Unfortunately he showed no fear of our car or us and only hopped along a few feet.
Ted finally got out of the car to gently urge him out of the driveway and he flapped/hopped up onto the gate, allowing me to turn the car without worrying about hitting him.
His still fuzzy head and hopping rather than flying identifies him as a juvenile. We walked around the opposite end of the gate and went on our way.
When we returned twenty minutes later he had relocated to the other end of the gate.
Quite regal looking, he ignored us as we passed back by and I saw him still there in the rear-view mirror as we drove away.
The Great Blue Herons have all fledged and have mostly left the rookery area. A few later starting Great Egrets chicks are still around, but they have grown to almost adult size and won’t be around much longer.
This pair looks a little goofy as they look around on a hot day.
Some of the Great Egret chicks are showing a lot of interest in the world beyond their nest and they have spread out into the space vacated by the Great Blue Heron chick.
These three chicks really look like Anhingas now, with the classic black and white “piano key” feathers on their wings.
Like the wading bird chicks in nearby nests these older chicks are spending more time interacting with each other as they wait for the parents to bring food. These three were so busy they didn’t even notice when one of the parents was on its approach.
Just as well, because she kept right on going.
I don’t know what made her abort her landing, but she circled around the tree for a second try and successful touch down.
A Barred Owl pair with two fledged owlets has been seen regularly from the boardwalk at Beidler Forest. We spotted just this one youngster taking short flights in the limbs above us.
The owlet was curious about the humans passing on the boardwalk below him, not bothered by our presence. A school group of about twenty-five kids and chaperones had just passed and a few of their stragglers stopped with us to watch the chick.
These two chicks are older than the four from last night’s post, where I described how the adult regurgitates the food. It’s a little weird the second time you see it, too. These chicks were a bigger target for me and I had a much better vantage point to see the feeding action.
Some feathers are starting to grow on the chicks’ necks, making them look more appealing and bird-like.
Anhinga can swallow very large fish, much bigger than their heads. You can see here the flexibility of their jaw.
The adult only fed the one chick then moved out of their reach.
Anhingas feed their chicks a little differently than the herons and egrets and it’s a little weird the first time you see it: the young stick their beaks down the adult’s throat to get the regurgitated food.
Like the herons, the young Anhinga will pull on the adults beak to start the feeding process. This adult had four young in the nest and the pushiest gets the most food.
Below you can see the featherless necks of the chicks and how the pouch at the corner of their jaw. It appears the one on the left is bleeding from a scratch–small wonder with all those sharp beaks.
I had changed positions trying to get a better view but they all kept dipping down below the branches.