The Green Herons Are Back…

by Larry Jordan on April 4, 2011

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) photos by Larry Jordan

Back at my friend Norm’s house for the sixth season in a row!  These are the first Green Heron (Butorides virescens) photos of the season for me and I am trying to document this pair’s breeding behavior from the beginning.

There seems to be a wrinkle in the process this year, with a third heron in the mix (pictured above, click on photos for full sized image).  We are calling this third bird the “interloper.”

The bonded pair seem to watch the interloper when he or she shows up, until it gets to rambunctious, then they chase it off.  We’re not sure exactly what the relationship is between the pair and the interloper but today Norm told me that it was back after being gone for a few days.

Here are the bonded pair with their crests up.  Green Herons will raise that glossy, dark green cap when they are alarmed or agitated.

As they calm down, they look more relaxed and stop flicking their tail too.

Here they are reconstructing their nest, although they were more interested in the interloper the day I was there.

As the interloper looks on.

Check out those feet!  Then go check out World Bird Wednesday!

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin Robinson April 5, 2011 at 4:06 am

This is a great series of images. I have yet to add that bird to my list, though we do get them here. There is still little open fresh water, but I’m watching and waiting for the ice to go……..and THEN my little pretties!


Dawn Fine April 5, 2011 at 7:32 am

Nice! Between your yard and your need to go anywhere else.:)
Robin~You guys are still frozen solid up there:)


Frank April 5, 2011 at 11:29 am

Always interesting to watch and be able to capture this type of behaviour Larry.

I saw a couple of male Mandarins trying to split up a paired couple earlier this week … without sucess.


Boom & Gary April 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Great close ups Larry. It doesn’t get much better!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.


Mick April 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Very interesting photos – especially the ones with the crests up. A photo record of these through the season will be great.


theconstantwalker April 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Lovely images of beautiful birds.
Thanks for sharing.


Eileen April 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Awesome post and photos of the Green Heron, Larry! The Green Heron is one of my favorites. Glad to see they arer returning.


Sondra April 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Lovely shots of this bird..Ive never seen it with the crest up like that…SUPER!


Ryan Ankeny April 5, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Digging the photos and video. These guys are my favorite herons. I love it when they sit at the tops of trees and let out their loud calls.


Nicole April 5, 2011 at 8:22 pm

They have a bit of the look of the Squacco Herons.
But these guys have an even more beautiful plumage!
Looking forward to the developing story on the couple & the Interloper 🙂


springman April 6, 2011 at 7:29 am

Perfect. What a wonderful little soap opera!
I too, will be waiting for the next installment.
Seriously Larry, how can you get this close to Green herons? If these first showings are any indication you will get a great documentary out of this!


Bill S. April 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

Their return to you has coincided with the return of the Night Herons here. You have some great pictures there.


Pat April 6, 2011 at 9:58 am

Those are amazing images of the Green Heron!


Kelly April 6, 2011 at 11:03 am

…really interesting post, Larry! You’ll have to keep us up to date with the interloper’s status!


Hilke Breder April 6, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Great series, Larry! And those feet are made to hold and grab. I took a picture once of a GH with the crest up: a juvenile who had just caught a frog and didn’t know what to do with it!


Kristi Hines April 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Nice capture of them in their agitated vs. relaxed state, especially through the trees. I have a difficult time with that and the focusing.


Pat Ulrich April 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Really great captures, they are such beautiful birds!


Mike B. April 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Beautiful! I still haven’t seen one of these incredible looking birds. Must keep looking. Great post.


Jean April 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Larry, Your photos and video are not only entertaining but also educational.


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