Spring means many different things to many different people, but to the birds it’s often a time to start putting on the beautiful colors, woo their mate, have a “little fun” along the way, build their nest, attend to their eggs, and ultimately raise their young.
This spring, I spent some time photographing the birds of Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, FL. In the beginning, it was all about the variety of birds, all beginning to sport their breeding colors and plumage … in that attempt of mating a suitable mate … or getting them “in the mood”. 🙂
One of the birds that seems to undergo quite a dramatic change in colors and feathers is the cattle egret. In non-breeding colors, it’s often an overlooked bird … usually just hanging out around livestock or wherever. Enter spring, and it becomes quite the impressive suitor.
Of course, the great white egrets are also quite showy … from their distinctive facial color changes to that amazing plumage … wispy feathers and all.
Not only that, but it sure can “dance”! You know, those moves that simply scream “look at me!” So persistent too.
Part of attracting their mate involves the building of a solid nest for them to raise their young and that nest building seems to go on and on … much to the fascination and delight of those there to photograph it.
Theirs is a true love story … such bonding, caring, sharing, and celebration. Aren’t they just the cutest couple? LOL
Of course, there’s more to it than just building a nest and doing the deed. Now that hard part comes when they work together tending to each other, the nest, and the eggs.
Attention to every little detail is always noted too. Look at those amazingly beautiful plumes. I’m quite fascinated by them.
Then there were the least terns, the smallest of the North American terns in size, but not in their courtship ritual this time of year. The offering of the fish is a necessary step in the process, because only when the female finally accepts it, will she be indicating that the courtship may proceed to the next level. Terns fly around at lightning speed and their aerial dives are legendary.
In some areas they nest on the sandy beaches, but at Wako, most of their courtship takes place on a hot tin roof!
Enter the snowy egret (glub glub, walla walla) … you can literally hear him long before you can even see him. These guys have such fluffy plumage which seems to get even crazier when they get excited. They also do quite the impressive dance of love.
They also never sit still for any length of time, darting from tree to tree, almost seemingly looking to stir up trouble or controversy at best. LOL
It’s not all peace, love, and happiness either. Some species get a bit territorial during the spring season and little fights break out, as illustrated by these moorhens.
Yes, it was totally fun watching nature unfold, thus ensuring the next generation of these wonderful birds of Wakodahatchee.
More to come in the next blog, as the new arrivals begin to pop up everywhere.
© 2015 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography