A Green Heron

A Green Heron

Rainfall for Stillwater for the past week was 2.6 inches, a healthy number that only ensures that summer plants for both birds and other pollinators is at healthy levels. Our native buttonbush has been growing well and will provide good food sources in wet open areas for these valuable animals.

The high point of the week is a clutch of four, perhaps five Green Herons. Through experience, our resilient little herons have wisely chosen an appropriate spot for their first nest. Writer deliberately avoided the area this year to keep our family as wild as possible. Through their skills, a site was chosen that not only provided top quality shade, but is better located to keep from attracting predators. In other words, it could be difficult to have any photos this year, as it faces the back of The Cove, permitting accessibility from the rear. Being unobtrusive could well be a challenge to observe and record behavior, but chances could be better for them to discover terra firma. Stay tuned for more in that arena.

However, Mother and Father Green Heron have also chosen their second nesting spot. Fortunately, being in the right place at the correct time only made that scenario much more observable for the first time. Mother brought her mate to the location that she had chosen for his knowledge. Nest building has probably already begun. Due to the age of the present clutch, they must be watched, so one party will be doing the building until they can call upon assistance from related co-operative nest apprentices. May the new experiences begin.

In the meantime, when not upon the blind, we can still observe progress as it unfolds, while we stay abreast of more young birds and their adventures.

That allowed an opportunity to quickly see a parent feeding a recently fledged Warbling Vireo. As tense as some of these feedings are, and how quickly an adult must produce, only means that young obtain valuable flight experience in keeping a watch on the source. They also obtain co-ordination skills while they pursue quickly enough to see how fast they must be to capture their own prey. The real challenge for the parent is to convince the young that they must do it themselves. Mom and dad must eventually break that bond, just like we must do with spoon-feeding.

We have time, but here’s a heads-up on fall migration. Keep excess lights out when darkness falls for most songbirds, or have windows covered or marked with moving objects during daylight hours. Birds see reflections of sky or green areas, which resemble clear space, but it can kill them instantly at flight speeds. Be prepared with window screens, patterned window film, non-toxic tempera paint on windows, colored window appliques, or zen wind curtains. We have opportunity before the waves could occur in actual time late September or October in our region.

Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding!

Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and photographer living in Stillwater.

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