Sunday, May 5, 2019

Spring 2019 and the discovery of a Great Blue Heron Rookery

The spring migratory birds are returning or have returned in the past few weeks.  The Red winged blackbirds arrived very early.  They were one of the first to show up.

The Baltimore Orioles and Hummingbirds are back.

The whooping cranes have returned from the south to an area nearby.  Some were raised there and some have just showed up at the habitat for the first time.

The sandhill cranes are nesting within sight of our windows.  They were beginning to nest closer but some bad weather and flooding moved them a short distance away.  We can't see them as well, but we will be able to see when the egg or eggs hatch.

There are always the bluebirds, the various ducks and the tree swallows.  Neither the tree swallows nor the bluebirds are nesting in our yard yet, but they are in the area and should begin soon.  I can't even begin to mention all of the species of birds we see around our house.

This year the most exciting times have revolved around the Great Blue Heron.  Every year they come to our marsh to fish.  I see them and I photograph them often.  This spring I saw one actually eating fish.  They wait so patiently, then slowly move in as if they are walking on tip toes and suddenly dip their head into the water and come out with a fish.  I saw it twice so far this spring.  One fish was very large and it took him a long time to swallow it.  Another time it looked like a pan fish.  It is amazing how they can just swallow a fish whole.

This morning a Great Blue Heron flew up into a tree outside our dining room window.  He sat there for the longest time.  I don't usually see them sitting in a tree unless they are nesting.

Speaking of Great Blue Herons nesting in trees, we actually have a Great Blue Heron Rookery in our area. If you have ever seen a group of huge nests made of large sticks in tall tree tops, you have seen one of these rookeries.  They are the spring nesting place for these large birds.  I was always under the impression that Great Blue Herons had young ones in the south during our winter.  I never really knew for sure, I just assumed.  Assuming is never a good thing.  Rookeries can have more than a hundred nests in them, but this one has around 20 or so.

I don't know how long this rookery has been here or why they chose this particular location.   This is the first year I knew about them.  As much as things stay the same, they also evolve.  You never can predict what the changes will be or what you will see from year to year.


  1. Thank you for this interesting blog. I learned something new today. I will get my sugar water ready for our little feathered friends. Thanks for the reminder. Hugs to you.

    1. Miss you on Facebook. It's a busy time for you at this time of year. Hugs back to you and your family.