The Great Egret chicks waste no time when the adult returns to the nest with food. It’s every chick for himself, and the first order of business is to latch onto the adult’s beak or neck.
The egrets’ necks are very flexible and the chicks know how to encourage the regurgitation of their dinner.
The adult always takes a pause and looks skyward before producing the meal.
Then he bends one more time and one chick opens wide while the other watches.
It was hard to tell if they both got something this trip. The entire maneuver got repeated but they were all moving around so much I lost track of which chick was which.
When the chicks were smaller the adult would supervise and maybe have to do some enticing with the food to get them to eat. Now that they are nearly full-grown the adult quickly moves out of reach of those sharp beaks.
A few wading bird pairs are just now hatching young even as some of the older chicks have fledged. I saw just one tiny chick underneath this female nesting Anhinga–you can just see the head at the lower left of the adult. Some of the other broods this year have had four chicks.
There may be more to come in this nest as the eggs may hatch over several days.
Anhingas feed their young by regurgitating food which the chicks actively retrieve by sticking their heads up the parent’s esophagus. Painful looking, especially when the chicks get bigger.
I don’t know just when they hatched but these two Great Blue Heron chicks were checking out their world on March 31st.
They were able to sit up and squawk for several minutes at a time.
I didn’t get any good images in between, but by May 5th they had the appearance of adults.
Able to stretch their necks for a better view, their world is just this nest. They are totally reliant on the parents bringing food.
On May 22nd their feathers looked more mature and the chicks spend more time grooming.
I have not seen these two chicks fly yet, but it won’t be long. It has been brutally hot here, 100 F (38 C) predicted for today, and these nests are out in the open with no shade. The chicks will do a pant-like behavior and sit with their wings out to help regulate temperature, which hopefully will help them survive.
Shortly after the nice surprise of seeing a Wood Duck with two ducklings on Sunday I came upon this one with eight ducklings.
They were paddling along all together in a tight group at first but eventually spread out enough for me to count them.
They followed the pond to the corner then did an about face and headed back the way they came, sticking pretty close to mom. The water was reflecting the dead brown grass on the bank so this image isn’t that pretty, but you can see each duckling distinctly.