Our Love must be Some Kind of Blind Love – Daily Prompt: Earworm & Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

“Our love must be some kind of kind of blind love.
I can’t see anyone but you.

Are the stars out tonight?
I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright.
I only have eyes for you, dear…”

A. Dubin, H. Warren
I Only Have Eyes for You

Great blue heron adults pair bonding during nest building.

Great blue heron adults pair bonding during nest building.

On one of his stick-gathering forays, the young male great blue heron retrieved a branch that was longer then his wingspan and carried it across the channel back to the island where his mate waited patiently.

It was a very macho thing to do – he was clearly out to impress her, and show what a good provider he could be. (Forgive me for anthropomorphizing.)

Once back at the nest, it took a very long time for him to maneuver the branch into a good position for her to grasp it, and the two herons both held the branch in their beaks at the same time, twisting and turning it around and then upside down. At one point, they both held it nearly vertical and their struggle with the branch brought to mind that iconic photo of the troops raising the flag at Iwo-Jima.

Positioning the huge stick upright and then it starts to fall...

Positioning the huge stick upright and then it starts to fall…

I could see all of that through the binocs, but it was too far to make out the finer details of their construction dance.

After downloading the photos at night, I could see more clearly their teamwork in trying to negotiate such a large branch into position and weave it into the nest.

Incredibly, at one point, while the female is holding the larger end of the branch horizontally in her beak, the male has managed to maneuver himself underneath the rest of the branch. And then he tucked into position so that the branch straddled his shoulder area, bearing all the weight with his upper back while his mate got a better purchase on it, just like a human construction worker will balance a beam on his shoulders or back. You can see this in the next sequence of frames here.

The new stick is so large the female props it on the male's back for an assist.

The new stick is so large the female props it on the male’s back for an assist.


It took them quite a while to position the branch just so in the nest, and there  were a few cliffhanger moments as the branch nearly escaped their beaks’ grasp and almost plummets to the island floor 70 feet below.

Recovering from almost dropping the ginormous stick while nest building.

Recovering from almost dropping the huge stick while nest building.

When the branch was secured into position, it was the female’s turn to fly off in search of the next  stick for the nest. Unlike her macho mate, five minutes later she returned to the nest with a dainty, foot-long twig. I think they were both in the mood for an easier time of it, consruction-wise.

The final sequence of frames here, taken during a break in nest building that day, shows the obvious connection between this mated pair of herons. Can you hear someone singing that old chestnut, “I only have eyes for you, dear?”

Like these herons towards each other, I am smitten.

The herons engage each other during a break in nest building.

The herons engage each other during a break in nest building.

Thanks for the Weekly Photo Challenge nudge, and the Daily Prompt nudge, too, Michelle W and WordPress.  


This took place May 19, 2012)

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Posted on July 5, 2013, in ardea herodias, Birds, daily prompt, Great Blue Heron, Nature, Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Challenge, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

    • Thanks for the reblog. Did you know that one of their courtship/greeting calls is “goo,” which gives the expression “making goo-goo eyes” an interesting interpretation.

  2. Love that you captured this courtship between the two herons!!

  3. fantastic … brilliant story and photos … glad i found your blog 🙂

  4. Romeo & Juliet …. really lovely and charming exposition & framed by this amazing poem by A. Dubin, H. Warren * for the Herons *clap * for you * clap * for the poet * clap

    • Thanks, Romeo & Juliette is a good comparison and I think it’s the poet in you that made the connection. I liked how that verse fit with the story, too. You might enjoy hearing it sung – Art Garfunkle does a very lovely cover.

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