Spring doesn’t officially arrive until March 20th … or so the calendar say. Try telling that in the midst of winter to the birds of Florida. They’re already out and about in the Florida sunshine!Whether it be the beautifully irridescent purple gallinule foraging about in the flowering plants or the yellow-rumped warbler darting in and out of the trees, there’s always something going on. While some of the birding activity involves migratory birds just passing through or here for a brief stay, many of them are residents. Such is the case of the great egret, seen here in full courtship display. That plumage is amazing to witness that’s for sure. Like it placed a foot on a magnetic ball and static electricity resulted … plumage standing up in every conceivable direction.Some birds, such as the double-crested cormorant, while they sport colors that pop out during breeding season, their display is one more in the dance or rhythmic movement. It’s truly hard to miss.One of the more popular birds to observe during this time is the great blue heron. Probably due to its beauty, grace in flight, and dedication they possess and exhibit. Of course, their size makes them an easy target for your eyes as well. Standing high on the tops of the pine trees, this guy prepares for flight in search of more nesting material.After some preliminary flapping, we have lift-off! No other bird in my opinion executes such full extension of its body as the great blue heron.
Before long, it returns with the perfect stick.As it prepares for its landing, I get a topside (or is it backside?) view … love the variety of feathers it possess, each with a role in the perfect landing. 🙂Landing light as a feather at the nest, it greets its mate with the presentation of the chosen stick for the job. She examines it and accepts it from her mate and they together place it in the nest.I think that she liked it! They celebrate their union and their love, as well as their young ones to come soon.Other birds of the rookery are doing the same thing as well, such as the ever-present wood storks.Some birds do it quite quickly, while others seem to use the task time to take a break along the way. Isn’t that just like a man? LOL, sorry guys, couldn’t let that one pass by. This anhinga rests for a moment before it grabs a sprig of pine needles to return with. I just love their breeding colors and plumage as well. Like a skilled make-up artist and hair stylist just paid a visit. 🙂While some birds, even of the same breed are still preparing their nests and choosing their mates, some got an earlier start and are already raising their young. This great blue heron parent returned to the nest, with fish dinner in tow (stored in its throat), to an anxious young one.At first, the young one just makes their “request” (i.e. FEED ME!) known politely. If the parent doesn’t oblige in a timely manner, the young one takes matters in its own hands, or should I say beak! If you look closely, you can see the parent trying to share that fresh catch.As often as I’ve seen this rough feeding routine play out before my eyes, I always wonder if the parents absolutely dread coming back to hte nest to take this kind of abuse! Haha. Sometimes, the parents walk away, almost as if to teach their young a lesson. As you can see, the young one uses that moment to throw an utter temper tantrum … yet learns to use their wings a bit in the process.Of course, nothing sounds as sweet as the flocks of black-bellied whistling ducks as they fly overhead. Love their calling out melody.Next up: Let’s all go to the Everglades!
© 2017 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography