Expecting to Fly – Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable
Imagine how lonely it would be to be only one, sitting alone in a high-up nest, waiting to grow in your feathers.
The nestlings are starting to try their wings. It is remarkable and yet I can barely stand to watch. They don’t have enough feathers yet for flight, since they’re only 4 1/2 weeks old, but they roughhouse with each other in amusing ways.
It has been said that animal babies’ “play” helps develop their survival skills, and my observations of great blue herons over the past decade supports that theory. One form of great blue heron baby play is shown in the photo sequence here. The fledglings thrust and parry, grabbing each other’s beaks in a bill duel similar to that used by adult herons in courtship, and that also helps develop their eye-beak coordination.
Adult great blue herons are generally solitary creatures when not in mating and nesting season, and the nest play of chicks is one way they can improve their survival odds.
I am glad there are two of them, to keep each other company, and to serve as practice partners. I imagine it would be very lonely to be only one, sitting alone in a high-up nest waiting to grow in feathers before fledging, expecting to fly.
Thanks for the Weekly Photo Challenge nudge, Michelle W and WordPress.
(This took place July 29, 2012)
© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Posted on June 30, 2013, in ardea herodias, Birds, daily prompt, Fledgling heron, Great Blue Heron, Nature, Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged ardea herodias, bill duel, bird play behavior, great blue heron, heron fledgling, postaday. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.