Sometimes the reality that nature isn’t inherently nice, hits you in the face and you realize how much harder the rest of the life on this planet has it. A little more that 5 weeks ago I started following a nesting pair of Green Herons, this post in all likely hood concludes that story on something of a down note. The nest ended up with 3 eggs, all of which hatched and went along nicely.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t had an opportunity to get back and check the nest out since last Friday–boy do these things grow fast. Today however, there was only 1 chick left, the other two had been killed or died. They certainly were too young to have fledged already. Though the loss of 2 of the 3 chicks is certainly within the 30% first-year survival rate of most heron species.
On top of that I got conflicting reports from people regarding whether the last chick had been abandoned or whether the adults were still rearing it. On one hand there was at least one person who claimed it was still being reared. On the other hand, in the little more than an hour I was at the nest, neither adult returned and the juvenile would try to get to a neighboring nest any time it saw another green heron approach. While I’d like to hold out some hope that the adults are still rearing it, given the number of Green Heron nests in the vicinity and that nobody I spoke to had actually seen it being fed as opposed to just having seen an adult in the area, I’m not sure how likely that is.
Fortunately life goes on, and the majority of these birds will be back next year for another season. Regardless of the success of the nest, photographing this was something I can rate as fairly successful.