Great Blue Heron “Teenagers”

April 24, 2014 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Nature photography, Wildlife) (, )

Great Blue Heron and Mini-Me

Great Blue Heron and Mini-Me

When the Great Blue Heron chicks start to resemble their parents, I call them “teenagers.”  They’re awkward looking, gangly, yet beginning to show the graceful plumage of the adult.

"Teenager" trying out its wings

“Teenager” trying out its wings

As you can see, this nest was conveniently located near the boardwalk at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Boynton Beach, Florida.  These birds court, mate, build nests, feed chicks, and fledge with binoculars and lenses recording it all.

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Often one or more chicks do not make it to this stage.  They may be crowded out by more aggressive siblings, or fall in the water below where alligators hope for an easy meal.

Scratching an itch

Scratching an itch

Juvenile Great Blue Heron near an anhinga nest

Juvenile Great Blue Heron near an anhinga nest

Gr-Blue-Heron-chicks,-Wacky-FL-(1)-copy-3

This pair is a bit younger, as you can tell from the feather quills and remaining downy covering.

Gr-Blue-Heron-on-nest,-Wacky-FL-(16)-copy-2

Gr-Blue-Heron-juve-in-nest,-Wacky-FL-(30)-copy

Even adult great blue herons can become a meal for a large alligator.  Young ones in particular haven’t learned to watch out for hidden danger yet.

Gr-Blue-Heron-juve-in-nest,-Wacky-FL-(6)-copy-3

Gr-Blue-Heron-juve-in-nest,-Wacky-FL-(12)-copy-2

Gr-Blue-Heron-on-nest,-Wacky-FL-(47)-copy-2

Like mother, like daughter.  (Or father-son, not sure which.)

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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5 Comments

  1. Pat said,

    These are great, Cindy. I have some photos from the Venice Rookery in southwest Florida, but they aren’t as sharp as yours. The nesting birds are a bit far for my 300 mm lens to capture well – and lens envy takes hold. 🙂

    • Cindy McIntyre said,

      Hi Pat – if you didn’t see my reply here it is:

      Pat, these “old” images were done with my Nikon D80 and the kit lens (300mm DX format) and aren’t as good as what my new Nikon D600 and 80-400mm FX lens does. However, I recommend you drop everything and get to Viera Wetlands in Viera, FL if possible. The blue herons were much closer to the road and there are several nests on palm trees that may still have babies. They were in the process of courting and constructing nests when I was there in late January. I would have returned to see the chicks but wasn’t able to. You can probably find something online or call to see if it’s worth the trip now.

      http://floridabirdingtrail.com/index.php/trip/trail/Ritch_Grissom_Memorial_Wetlands_at_Viera_aka_Viera_Wetlands/

      • Pat said,

        I will check it out – but we are already in Michigan for the summer. Thanks.

  2. Cindy McIntyre said,

    Pat, these “old” images were done with my Nikon D80 and the kit lens (300mm DX format) and aren’t as good as what my new Nikon D600 and 80-400mm FX lens does. However, I recommend you drop everything and get to Viera Wetlands in Viera, FL if possible. The blue herons were much closer to the road and there are several nests on palm trees that may still have babies. They were in the process of courting and constructing nests when I was there in late January. I would have returned to see the chicks but wasn’t able to. You can probably find something online or call to see if it’s worth the trip now.

    http://floridabirdingtrail.com/index.php/trip/trail/Ritch_Grissom_Memorial_Wetlands_at_Viera_aka_Viera_Wetlands/

  3. Jim Treadway said,

    Beautiful photo, Cindy.

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