Monday, April 26, 2010

A Baby Egret!

Those who have followed my Malibu Great Egret Nest Watch will understand my delight at seeing a little white, fluffy head popping up out of one of the three Egret nests in the Ficus tree at the Malibu Country Mart! It has been impossible to see inside the nests as they are so high up in the tree- it was just luck that I suddenly saw it when I checked the nest after hearing a loud baby bird cry following the partner bird's visit.

I say "partner" because both birds incubate the eggs and feed the chicks, although it is the male bird who builds the nest out of twigs (perhaps if it was the female bird the nests would be more feminine and downy?- or am I being sexist?) BEFORE he chooses his mate.

Apparently, although 1-6 eggs are laid Great Egrets often only end up with one nestling because the strongest one will sometimes kill his weaker siblings! Also, the chicks have a tendency to climb out of the nest...AND they often fall prey to predators- and I have witnessed Crows in the tree on several occasions... Listing all this tragic info has made me realize how lucky I was to see ONE baby Egret!

Because the nest was so high and was obscured somewhat by leaves, my photos of the chick are not as clear as I would have liked- but at least I have some to complete my vigil of the last few weeks. When I say "complete" this does not mean that I have finished with the Egrets- I still have more images to show in another post.

In the meantime, here are some images of the conquering, surviving Egret Chick. The day began grey but later brightened up- if you look carefully, you will decipher the chick's head through the twigs of the nest:

Here it brightens up and it is easier to see the chick:

In the next two photos you can see the chick trying to induce food from his parent's beak:

Taken while it was still grey, one would like to think that this one shows the parent bird protecting his babe with his wing- but no, he is just preening himself...

Since taking these last photos, it has dawned on me that this period I have spent here in Los Angeles since November, has been focused entirely on Nests, Birth and Nestlings- starting with the amazing birth of my first Granddaughter Violet, including the Mourning Dove's nest and ending with the birth of the Egret- who's progress has totally obsessed me...

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