Green Heron Nesting Update

by Larry Jordan on May 2, 2011

Green Heron in Nest photos by Larry Jordan

The Green Heron (Butorides virescens) nest now has four nestlings!  When I last posted on the Green Heron nest, the pair were chasing off an interloper.  Now they are feeding four, week old chicks!  Here is a photo of one the proud parents in the nest.

When I arrived at Norm and Chris’ home, where the herons have been nesting for the past six years, there was one adult in the nest and the chicks were resting down in the nest.  Not until the other adult came to the nest to relieve its partner was there any activity.

When the exchange took place, the chicks sat up where I could see them briefly.

Both adults climbed out of the nest to a branch nearby, out of my sight. Shortly afterwards, one of them flew off.

The chicks nestled down in the nest again and the remaining adult stayed on the nearby branch for almost an hour before coming down into the nest.  Here it is sticking its tongue out.

A few minutes later, the feeding frenzy began.  Notice that there are four chicks in this photo, two nestlings are below as the other two grab the parent’s beak to take food directly into their beaks.  This behavior begins at about one week of age according to Birds of North America Online.

This behavior can get pretty intense as you can see from this photo where one of the nestlings is pulling the adult’s beak down with what appears to be quite a bit of force.

The photos don’t really show how violent this looks as it occurs, so I filmed it for you.

After all the feeding was over, the family of Green Herons sat in the nest together, apparently satisfied for the time being.

For more great bird photos, get on over to World Bird Wednesday!

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Dina J May 3, 2011 at 4:36 am

Great shots. I’ve never seen baby green herons before. That mom has a tough life with 4 babies.


TexWisGirl May 3, 2011 at 4:51 am

Wow. The weak wouldn’t get much to eat in that nest. Such ugly babies they’re adorable. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing a nest of any of the herons, though we keep plenty of adults here.


Marissa May 3, 2011 at 8:28 am

Amazing shots – I really enjoyed the video!


Boom & Gary May 3, 2011 at 8:50 am

Stunning series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.


springman May 3, 2011 at 9:03 am

That is an unxpected treasure. Your film making and photography are out of this world. Thank you for sharing!


MaineBirder May 3, 2011 at 9:53 am

Yest another excellent post Larry! Great series of photos and video.


Kristi Hines May 3, 2011 at 9:53 am

Great job capturing the video… they are pretty demanding!


fjällripan May 3, 2011 at 10:11 am

Soo wonderful! The chicks are looking very funny but also soo sweet, great capture!


theconstantwalker May 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

Lovely to see the youngsters. Your Green Heron is a beautiful bird to see and your images are stunning. Thanks for sharing.


Mick May 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Great to see both the adults and chicks. The feeding does look a bit frenzied! Great photos.


eileen May 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Wow, awesome photo and sighting. The Green heron is one of my favorites. The babies are so cute and fuzzy.


Pat May 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Such wonderful shots of the Green Heron family! You also did a great job on the video! I have never seen GH chicks before.


Stewart M May 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Hi – used to watch a heron rookery back in the UK – is this nest as smelly as I remember the old ones to be?

Nice pictures!


Kelly May 3, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Oh my gosh…fantastic series! Those little babies are so cute. You can even see the baby’s gular pouch filling up! You must have been going crazy photographing them! 🙂


Bill S. May 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Beautiful birds. You sure got some great pictures. Hopefully the babies will be able to fledge.


Fotokarusellen May 3, 2011 at 10:52 pm

A great post and very beautiful images. Bravo!


Sondra May 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm

What great work, the photos are excellent –what an amazing experience!!!


Tammy May 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

These are amazing shots! How lucky you are to have witnessd this.


Jean May 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Goodness!!! That is some wild chicks. Ya think they attack the beak of Mom to stimulate her to regurgitate food for them?
Larry…this post is really awesome. I retweeted it and posted it to my Facebook page!


dreamfalcon May 5, 2011 at 4:28 am

stunning photos! this is just great stuff to look at.


joco May 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm

The innate will to live ( and feed) is so powerful right from birth. Amazing footage.
Ought to have an X-rating for violence and probably language use 🙂


Pat Ulrich May 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm

great captures! it’s always fun to see the young ones!


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