Monday, March 18, 2013

Heron Rookery

Heron Rookery
 St Patrick's Day was a reminder in the past that it was time to start watching for great blue herons at the rookery at the North Mississippi Regional Park. The herons typically began to arrive the a day or two after St Patrick's day. The males were usually the first to arrive. They would claim a nest and then wait for a female to arrive.
Great Blue Heron
If a female liked a male heron's nest then the mating ritual would begin. The male would grab sticks from the trees on the island or from trees along the shore and bring them back to the nest. At the nest there was a ritual that the birds would perform, an almost intertwining of their long necks, with the male up high passing the stick and the female below accepting it. Then he would fly off to find another gift while she would use the stick to remodel the nest to her liking. Eventually this ritual would often lead to copulation and if the birds were lucky eggs. Unfortunately the summer after I took these photos a tornado hit the rookery destroying all of the nests and knocking over half of the trees. Last year I checked and none of the herons returned to the island. Most had probably moved on to less photographer accessible rookeries. But I keep checking and hoping that one day they will return.


9 comments:

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I hope so too! We used to watch a (one-nest) rookery in Oregon near where we lived... friends told me it blew down and was never re-built. It made me sad, even though we no longer live where we can watch it this time of year.

Linda Kittmer said...

Stunning shot. I've got a lot of great bird shots, but I haven't been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time for a Great Blue Heron! I often see them while cycling up at the cottage, but by the time I stop and grab the camera they're gone!

Randi said...

Amazing shot of the beautiful heron. Looks like a painting!

Karen said...

Lovely shots.

Findlay Wilde said...

We have a Heronry down at the river near our house, so I really enjoyed your post. From Findlay

Liza said...

Cool captures. Visiting late for MoM. Happy Tuesday.

Liz (mlc)
Liz (yacb)

Fun60 said...

That's sad but you never know they may return to whatever remains of the nesting area.

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islandwonder said...

Great capture! Hopefully they will return.