Saturday, May 26, 2007

For the birds, and Nancy

Photo by the Mister, who has a really big lens.

Birds, watch the birds for me, asked Nancy. And i always do, but i did some more.

In a half dead tree, near a local shopping mall that i drive by nearly every day, there are two huge nests. They are the nests of Great Blue Herons. I have been watching the parents sit on those nests for weeks. Lately i have been watching as the babies, one of which you can see above, appear and grow. One nest has four babies and the other has three.

The babies are so cute and so ugly. (For reference, this one is already the size of a large housecat.) They wobble out on the ends of the tree limbs on impossibly skinny legs and flap their proto wings. I hold my breath and wait for them to plunge to their doom. But they don't.

I drove by yesterday and there were seven herons sitting in that tree. A glorious sight.

This morning, as i have the past several days as we are sleeping with the balcony door open, i was awaked by the screaming of plovers. They run, again on impossibly skinny legs, up and down the water's edge, looking for that perfect spot out in the open to hide the nest. I will take a picture of it if i can find it.

In a few weeks, after the eggs are produced, when i go down on the beach i will be treated to much screaming and a plover leading me away from the nest with the old oh-look-i-am-helpless-as-have-a-broken-wing act. I always feel like i am in an episode of Wild Kingdom.

Nancy, for more bird stories, go here and here. They are short, i promise.


Lee said...

That is awesome!! Round here, I keep finding dead baby birds who have fallen out of their nests. :(

TTQ said...

Honey told me about a bird's nest in our baby cassia tree this morning..I forgot I was going to go take a picture of it..he said I'll need a stool probably..but he almost knocked it out of the tree with his head. He's extra tall like you.

TTQ said...

Great I almost got dive bombed by the mama.

holly said...

we have a bird who builds a nest in our clothesline pole every year. it's so cool to be hanging up clothes and listen to them chatter. it's also fun to listen to the cats taunting the poor birds, "hey, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, FLY!"

Stucco said...

So, now I'm imagining an adaptation of the "fake injury" thing in humans- around Christmas, at the Toys R' Us, in or near the aisle that has the "Tickle Me Elmo" (or whatever the hell people are freaking out about this year), whereupon people are faking medical trauma in strategic locations elsewhere in the store to keep the bargain hunters away from the precious object of frenzy.

Hmm, maybe I could get a grant for research on this? No- never mind. I forgot that that there are only creationists in charge these days, and this smacks of natural science.

Schmoopie said...

Is it wrong that I read, "Photo by the Mister, who has a really big penis?

Sorry, just a Freudian slip... :)

Nancy Dancehall said...

Yay! Thanks, Meno. And I see bird stories beget bird stories...

Very good. Yes. Seven Herons in a tree...the old defending the nest thing... *scribble scribble*

Still drinking, 'Schmop'? ;-)

QT said...

I love birds. The BF and I strive to make this patch o'land a bird paradise as much as possible. Those herons look so cool.

For all my birding efforts, I have yet to see an owl. Odd, isn't it?

meno said...

lee, oh, that is sad. My cats sometines bring me birds. I hate that much more than the rats.

ttq, yeah, but did you get the picture??

holly, what a great thing to listen to whilst hanging laundry.

stucco, i just fake medical trauma to get out of meetings faster.

schmoopie, it is wrong of you, you are totally sick. I can't believe you said that. I meant no such inference. (Ha)

nancy, lots of birdies around here. I didn't even tell about the mergansers who have ten babies all perched upon their mom's back as she swims, wiggling and pushing each other off. Precious!

Anonymous said...

You get to walk on the beach, regularly? That is so not fair. The beach is my most favorite place in the world but I only get there once or twice a year. You lucky woman.

Sienna said...

This is gunna sound a little dumb, but I fell for the plover thing!

Here on the farm we have plovers everywhere, they do their nesting and run out to the paddock, faking illness, bankruptcy and trauma....I fell for it!!!

I was so upset, i followed and followed, tears running down my face (this was some time ago, I was only 20), and I'll admit it, I am a little thick and a little stubborn, I was going to save this goddamn plover's life....3 hours later I cottoned on and quietly headed home.

At early hours of the morning on a still summer's night here, they can be heard still laughing at me..

But strewth, it looks like an oscar winning performance tho' don't it?

Pam (hey great pic btw) size does matter. (in this instance)

meno said...

qt, owls are hard. I think you only see them if they are ill or something, because they are pretty sneaky. I love that you have a bird friendly yard.

deb, i am very lucky. It's beautiful here.

pam, i have fallen for it too, but only briefly. They are so convincing. And man, are they loud.

Joan said...

You're one dedicated birder...and a heck of a photographer to boot!

thailandchani said...

Beautiful birds! The birds have been notably quiet around here for a while now. Who knows what they're thinking!

BTW, the book arrived safe and sound. Thanks so much! :)



heartinsanfrancisco said...

How beautiful! Nothing like a really big lens, is there?

Just the name Great Blue Heron is so exciting to me! Lovely post, Meno.

Ortizzle said...

Super photo! I love how you describe their 'impossibly skinny legs'!

Mother of Invention said...

What a pic! And 7 is so encouraging since these were once endangered here.

Irrelephant said...

Meno, owls are tricker than you can possibly imagine. I've only seen a handful in my days, and we've had a owl nest in our old barn for over forty years now. They're sneaky barstards. *lol*

And you'll know you've stumbled into Wild Kingdom mode when you go and try to castrate a water buffalo with a butter knife, barefoot, while Marlin waits in the helicopter.

Mama P said...

Cute little bugger. Thanks for the pic.

Lynn said...

Have I mentioned that I don't like birds? They scare me. Screeching/screaming birds, would definitely do me in.

urban-urchin said...

We have a swallow's nest in our gutter right over the downspout. We have to figure out how to Move it without hurting the babies and then deter them from coming back. Any thoughts you bird people?

urban-urchin said...

ps I posted something for you..

meno said...

joan, thank you, but the Mister took that picture, he is the real photographer in the family.

chani, they are thinking about mating! Glad you got the book.

hearts, the herons and the bald eagles are two of the birds that always make me stop what i am doing and gape. thanks.:)

ortizzle, i don't know how they hold up all that bird.

moi, it really was quite a heartening sight!

irrelephant, we love to make fun of Wile Kingdom around here. "Jim will now wrestle the alligator while i stand idly by and sip sherry."

mamap, they definitely fall into the so-ugly-they're-cute category.

lynn, really? Too many Hitchcock movies?

u-u, not a wise choice for a nest location. No advice here. Thank you for the story. I rushed right over to read it.

Lynn said...

How perceptive of dad pretended that he was a bird "pecking on my arms and head" while we watched "The Birds" which scared me then...and still scares me now.

Esereth said...

Babies are so cute and so ugly. Yes that is it, and species.

sari said...

So cool!! I'm a big fan of cute/ugly - that's why I used to have a pug. Very cute/ugly, but you can't help but love them.

Dick said...

What focal length lens did he use on that photo?