Sunday, January 30, 2011

Romance Heron Style

I've been showing you a lot of scenes of predation and I thought it time to show the gentler side of bird life.
 I had observed courting behavior recently among some mallards so I thought perhaps it was time to check out the tree where several herons had nested last year.  I saw four nests, each with one or two birds.  These three were quietly co-existing in two of the nests.
 When this guy flew in, it was clear he didn't belong in this group.  I'd never before seen herons raise their crest as these did.
 I trained my camera on another nest, one with a single bird.  Suddenly it became alert.
 This arriving bird received a very different greeting.
 Notice the crests raised again, this is part of courtship behavior.
 These two seem to be on friendly terms.
 Very friendly terms.
 The stretched and fluffed neck is another courtship display and here they are grabbing each other's beak.  Perhaps the heron equivalent of a kiss?

After all of this display of affection they get to work tidying the nest.  I think they are going to need it!  Courtship displays are not as common in pair bonded couples so perhaps the two in the top photo are an old married couple, just standing around, comfortable with each other.

See other views of the world at My World, Tuesday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.
See more birds at Bird Photography Weekly.


25 comments:

EmptyNester said...

Wow! What a find! You are so lucky to have happened upon these herons! Amazing photos! Wow!

Sylvia K said...

These really are amazing captures, Martha! I love them! And what a find indeed! Enjoy your day!

Sylvia

Linda Reeder said...

Wow. Great photos! With as many herons as I have seen over my life, I have never witnessed this.

Mike B. @ slugyard.com said...

Awesome! Just yesterday I saw about 10 to 15 herons returning to a rookery near our house. Pretty soon there will be many, many heron chicks making one heck of a loud racket.

Barb said...

I really enjoyed this sequence, Martha - I've never seen the Heron courting behavior. I also had to smile at this line: "Courtship displays are not as common in pair bonded couples so perhaps the two in the top photo are an old married couple, just standing around, comfortable with each other."

mick said...

Very interesting description of the courtship displays and great photos showing the different birds.

Tammie Lee said...

wonderful portraits!!

katney said...

Any tips on how to find the rookery? We have plenty of herons, but I don't know where they hang out when they are not standing in the river.

Larry said...

Super series of Great Blue Herons Martha! I would love to observe a rookery and get photos like these. Nice job! The one with the two birds, crests raised is magnificent.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

What a fascinating series of photos. You are very observant.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I love this Martha! We used to visit a heron rookery near where we lived in Oregon, but that was before digital cameras ; I'd love to be there again, but we aren't there at the right time nowadays. We have a lot of herons here in Florida, but I haven't discovered their rookeries.

A great series of photos.

lotusleaf said...

This is a wonderful series of pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Kay L. Davies said...

This is marvelous, it really is, Martha. And after the courtship they began tidying the nest together - how sweet is that? Human husbands please take note.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Carly said...

Nesting birds are so interesting to watch and photograph!

BraCom (Bram) said...

interesting series, very nice bird
photos

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

Link to My Word Tuesday post!

Seen on My World Tuesday

Francisca said...

What a lovely series telling the story of territoriality and affection among herons! Interesting world you live in.

eileeninmd said...

Martha, what a wonderful series on the heron rookery. it must have been a great experience to watch the herons on their nest and the interactions.

Karen said...

A great series of photos! I have only ever seen one heron in my life. Thanks for sharing.

Carver said...

What a great post. I observe herons a lot at lakes near me but have never spotted their nests or witnessed the courtship. This was wonderful.

Stella said...

Thanks for sharing what most of us will never have a chance to see. Seems like herons are just like old married we see. Just kind of content to sit and enjoy.

milepebbles said...

I really enjoyed this post. I'm jealous that you actually witnessed this :-)

Johnny Nutcase said...

excellent series!

retriever said...

Wov great fotos, much birds, greeting from Belgium

Lindy MacDuff said...

Fantastic! I'm going to share your link with a friend of mine in southern Indiana. She has a heron rookery near where she lives.

Kay said...

This is so fascinating. Those herons are such elegant, beautiful creatures.