Young Green Herons are doing very well as time progresses. At the end of last week, our nestlings were getting their footing in a familiar area, hurrying to the top of the main trunk of the immediate area of their nest.
Rain last Tuesday put a bit of a damper on their progress and they actually seemed to regress a little from more exploration.
On June 5, an adult Green Heron began giving a tour of the nest tree, helping the young birds to explore more and strengthen both legs and wings in their quest. Even though they took things slowly, and the youngest seemed quite fearful spending more time in the safe confines of the nest, they made steady progress.
Under the tutelage of both the patriarch and a helper, the young showed themselves on the ends of branches. One nestling actually lost its footing and ended up in the shallow water, rapidly recovering from its error. That was the only falling mishap that we know about.
As the weekend rolled around, the young balked at following the adults on wing. For a while, it appeared that the adults were withholding food from the young to entice them to attempt flight, but it was observed that they ate at the end of the lesson. They were moving around with more purpose, trying their wings, and becoming more animated when the adults were nearby.
They were dodging Great-tailed Grackles and were wide-eyed as they observed grackle fledglings take to the air. It appeared that while watching other species, the light dawned over Marblehead, and it made sense to the young on what they needed to do to achieve their flight goal by hopping and flapping wings.
Young Green Herons were seen flapping their own wings, while steadfastly gripping branches under their feet.
This Monday, it looked like the eldest would actually take the chance to follow the adults, but it didn’t happen at the last moment. By the time Tuesday morning came, the two eldest were missing, and upon our approach to The Cove, adults were clearly heard in the area, but remained out of sight.
By the time we left for the day, none of them had returned, but the three remaining youngest were clearly looking for the rest of their family members.
Tomorrow is another day, and next week, writer hopes to share more adventures regarding the oldest Green Heron young that may have fledged.
The male Bell’s Vireo remains in the vicinity, while the Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Great Crested Flycatcher paid a visit this Tuesday. The flycatcher was skittish not allowing photographs, while the cuckoo would have been located had there been enough time.
Mother Brown Thrasher remains hidden upon her nest, permitting one photo op.
It was also a better day for photos of both parent and young Cliff Swallows off the Lakeview Road Bridge, and those should be available next week.
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.