Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sibling Rivalry

If you have a romantic view of the natural world you might wish to skip this post.
I trained my lens on a heron rookery recently.  I can't get close and it is hard to know just what is going on until I down load the images.
























I was able to see that there were chicks in this nest and I could hear them squabbling.
























After looking at the images it appears that one chick grabbed the other around the neck.
There also appears to be the limp body of another chick at the lower left side of the nest.
I regret that I couldn't get better images, even if it was possible to get closer I wouldn't have wanted to disturb the nesting birds by moving closer.




























The pair continued to squabble and the parent pays little attention.  The limp chick does not move.









Then my attention was distracted by a pheasant nearby and I spent 10 minutes photographing the pheasant.
 
When I returned my attention to the nest, the agressive chick again had a nest mate by the throat but I couldn't be sure if it was the limp one or the other as the limp chick was no longer hanging over the edge. 
 
The aggressive chick tossed the the other one into the corner of the nest
 and there it remained as long as we were there.  Only now does the parent show any interest in the chicks.
It seems harsh but if parents are unable to feed all of the hatchlings the stronger will out compete the others for food and intimidate or even kill the others.  With our dry winter, I suspect that hunting has been difficult and many of the chicks in this rookery will die, some at the beaks of their siblings.
Find more birds at World Bird Wednesday, hosted for us by Springman.

23 comments:

Kristi Bowman said...

Not easy to see but it is often the way in nature. Great captures!

Gary said...

I read about this before that even despite food shortages the aggressive chick survives!! Nature is not pretty at times. Great post. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Andrew said...

Wonderful birds to see Martha.. my Grey Herons must be close relations.

Beautiful images to see.
Hugs Drew xx

eileeninmd said...

Very cute fuzzy chicks, great shots!

Gaelyn said...

It's a real world out there with survival of the fittest. You had an amazing opportunity to witness this.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

A great opportunity to capture an aspect of Nature we little understand. I think your pictures are wonderful considering the difficulty you must have had. Interesting. Makes me appreciate being an only child even more now.

Sylvia K said...

Sad, interesting and I guess the animal world is not that different from us after all. It was indeed a great opportunity to capture the darker side of nature that I guess we try to ignore most of the time. Maybe we choose to ignore it because it is too sharp of a reminder that animals and people may behave similarly in some instances.

Sylvia

Becky said...

I know just how difficult it is to get close to these guys. You did a splendid job! Lets hope the little ones settle their differences, but I don't think so.
The beached fish in my post was a large carp.
Have a great week.

Wanda..plain~N~simple said...

Excellent post! You were very lucky to capture such aggressive behavior during such a delicate moment of their lives! Thank you for sharing it.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It's life -- not Disneyland! And a concrete example of what happens as a result of drought. You had an excellent(if not completely joyful) day of bird watching (along with the beautiful pheasant over on your other spot) -- thanks for sharing. .

Linda Reeder said...

What amazing photos! Nature is not all sweetness and light. It really is survival of the fittest.

Ann said...

Wow!!!! This is in the wild? What kind of camera do you use to get the chicks?

Ann said...

You guessed what was in my mind, you birds were free or wild. Unlike those in Zoos or bird parks, in captivity.

Carole M. said...

yes it would've been a bit of a shock when you edited your photos. Sad, but it is nature's way .. fabulous photos.

mick said...

Great photos and very interesting observations.

Phil said...

Those siblings sure start squabbling early

heyBJK said...

Great photos, Martha! The Great Blue Heron is one of my favorite birds!

Stewart M said...

I think I'm glad I'm not a heron!

Great set of pictures.

Stewart M - Australia

Fjällripan said...

Yes, nature can be rather cruel when you get to look at it...Great photos and interesting aswell!! :)

bailey-road.com said...

Great documentation of this behavior.
Nature can be cruel.

joo said...

Beautiful set of photos, Martha!

Janie said...

The strongest survive in nature, and it seems that's what happened here. Poor little chick. He was out-competed.

Kathie Brown said...

Wow. What an impressive thing to witness. It is hard to think of this. No one want to see cute little chicks die or event think that they would be capable of this, but sadly, it is true. We all love the beauty of nature; few of us want to embrace this harsh side.