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.
I heard them way before I got to the swamp: they were squawking the way they do when a parent has brought food. Instead of feeding, the scene when I got there was more like a human telling his sibling what’s what.
You could practically hear “You’re not the boss of me!”
I’m not sure if this was backing down or just requisitioning.
And as is often the case with humans, it was all over a couple minutes later, apparently with no harm done.
A lone adult, perhaps from this nest, stood with a tired look at the edge of the pond. The adults all around the rookery are starting to look like they have had enough.
This single Great Blue Heron chick has gotten a rough start in life and hasn’t seemed to be thriving as well as those in nearby nests. On my most recent pass by his nest he was up doing some wingersizing, which is a hopeful sign.
The adult wasn’t paying him any attention, which isn’t unusual, but without any siblings to interact with he’s got to poke at his parents once in awhile.
This nest is in the same tree as the multiple Great Egret nests. This fellow’s next challenge will be to fend off those chicks and their parents once they notice he is there. Last year the GBH chicks in this nest hatched much earlier than the Great Egret chicks so they had more of a size advantage. And there were two of them.
Not surprisingly the nest that had four Great Blue Heron chicks now only has three. I don’t know what happened to the fourth; he might have fallen or the other three might have driven him over the edge as they competed for food.
The three that are left have gotten quite active, spending some of their awake time chewing on each other.
They also practice “wingercising,” working their wings before they take their first flights.
The juvenile Night-Herons were more active on this morning in the rookery than the snoozing adults.
A few of them were wandering around on these gnarly tree branches in the dappled sun.
A comparison of the juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron at All About Birds finds they are quite similar, with the Black-crowned variety having “larger spots and bolder streaks.” Hard to tell unless you have one of each side-by-side.
1/30/2018, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, Florida.