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8 of 22 photos
Categories & Keywords

Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:Great Blue Heron, arizona, babies, birds, heron, herons, nest, nests, pine, rookery
Photo Info

Dimensions5000 x 7500
Original file size33 MB
Image typeJPEG
Rookery Blubbery

Rookery Blubbery

These colonies of nests are called "rookeries" and they are the spring nesting place of the sleek and beautiful great blue heron. Rookeries can have as many as 135 nests in them, although in this case the tree only held 8 nests, while another 250 feet away held 2 more nests. The parents come and go, yet there is always a handful of adults who remain, such as these 3. This is the heron's way of being sure there's always a bird keeping watch to protect the group against predators like raccoons. The nest is often still and quiet, until mom or dad come home to feed the babies, and then the din of poor table manners begins. The noise the babies make when they are waiting for their partially gestated goo, is one that can be a little unnerving…clacking and blubbering. The beaks snapping together repeatedly makes this clacking sound, like a clacker would make. Occasionally mixed in comes the guttural growling tone when one has a fit…an unearthly sound of blubbering gurgling…when I say unearthly, kind of like the sound of a bull elk rutting but all low tone. With each next having 2 or 3 babies, the clacking multiplies. When multiple nests are being fed at once, the whole tree seems alive in the noise to the point it is hard to concentrate…I mused to myself one day while visiting the rookery how the noise would be the perfect complement to a pod of African hippos all laying around in the water and grunting at once.