GREAT BLUE HERON COUPLES, CONTENTED WITH STEREOTYPICAL DOMESTIC ROLES

GREAT  BLUE  HERON  COUPLES,   CONTENTED  WITH  STEREOTYPICAL  DOMESTIC  ROLES

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace  of  life,  that  your  prayers  be  not  hindered.  (1st Peter 3:7)

GreatBlueHerons.AmericanExpedition

GREAT BLUE HERONS, nest-building together   (photo credit: American Expedition)

Great Blue Heronwhat a big, beautiful bird! These are the largest-sized and heaviest of North America’s herons – standing about 4 feet tall and weighing over 5 pounds (about 2½ kilograms). Because both sexes look alike, generally speaking, it is difficult to discern which is a male (versus a female).  However, when a pair is seen, expect the male have a slighter larger bill than his female.  (That’s a nice way of saying that males have noticeably bigger mouths than their females.)

GreatBlueHerons.CarolinaBirdClub

GREAT BLUE HERON couple, on nest   (photo credit: The Carolina Bird Club)

Previous blogposts have mentioned this wading bird’s bold usage of alligator “taxis” [see Lee Dusing’s “Gatorland’s Taxi Service”, posted at https://leesbird.com/tag/great-blue-heron/ ], as well as its opportunistic dietary preferences (e.g., fish, frogs, rodents, small birds, bugs, etc.), so those facts are not repeated here [See “Great Blue Heron:  Patient, Prompt, and (Rarely) Pugnacious”, posted at https://leesbird.com/2014/06/30/great-blue-heron-patient-prompt-and-rarely-pugnacious/ ].

However, it is worth mentioning that the Great Blue Heron is unafraid of stereotypical male/female courtship and domestic roles  —  something that some “modern” folks get nervous about:

GREAT BLUE HERONS.  From exchanging twigs to flying in circles, great blue herons participate in a wide range of behaviors during courtship.  To construct the big, bulky nest, the male does most of the gathering of materials, picking up sticks from the ground … [or from other places in its “territory”].  The female does most of the work of putting the nest material in place [i.e., she takes care of the home’s interior decorating].  Pairs often reuse old nests [and have been doing this long before “recycling” became a fad], but if they build a new one, it can take three days to two weeks [although it probably takes longer if they are government contractors].

[Quoting, with editorial inserts, from Kaitlin Stainbrook, “Love at First Flight”, BIRDS & BLOOMS, February-March 2018 issue, page 34.]

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GREAT BLUE HERON nest    (photo credit: Naturally Curious with Mary Holland)

Where do they build nests? Inside trees and bushes, yes, but also in tall marshy weeds, or even on the ground.  Great Blue Herons are known to collect tree twigs from nearby trees, including some branch fragments that are too long to be useful as part of a nest, so many sticks are likely to fall to the ground before a pair of great blues get their nest built “just right”.  Other nest-building materials include a “lining” of pine needles, moss, grasses, cattail reeds, and/or leaf material.

In other words, these herons are as eclectic in nest-building as they are in sourcing their food.

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GREAT BLUE HERONS, nest-building
(photo credit: Great Blue Heron RV Rentals & Sales Inc.)

A quick limerick follows.

       GREAT BLUE HERON NEST-BUILDERS KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

What’s right oft gets lost, in the throng

       As fads drop what’s right, for what’s wrong;

                        As home tasks come and go

                        Their right roles herons know;

       May that difference forev’r live long !

So Great Blue Herons know the difference between male and female roles.

What a Biblical concept! As the French would say:  vive la difference!


 

Snoopy’s Assistance

Cormorant Tree at Gatorland by Lee

It’s getting time for the birds to think about heading north and start their nests. I couldn’t help but chuckle over Snoopy helping out.

 Peanuts for 3/11/2018

Peanuts for 3/11/2018 – Copyright Peanuts/Distributed by Universal Uclick for UFS

Snowy and Great Egret Nests at Gatorland.

Egret and Heron nests at Gatorland by Lee 3-6-18

When we were at Gatorland recently, in central Florida, and the nests were everywhere. One even had a one-day old Great Egret in it. It really wasn’t so “Great” at this stage of its life.

Great Egret 1-day old chick at Gatorland

I doubt Snoopy helped supply the twigs for these nest, especially with all the Alligators laying around underneath them.

Gators waiting under the nest – Gatorland by Lee 3-6-18

Have a great day!

If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: (Deuteronomy 22:6 KJV)

Patty Becomes a Teacher ~ by Emma Foster

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) ©WikiC Female -2 young

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) ©WikiC Female -2 young

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: (Job 12:7 KJV)

Patty Becomes a Teacher ~ by Emma Foster

Once there was a finch named Patty who lived in a large oak tree by an elementary school. She had built her nest up in one of the highest branches of the old oak tree so she could watch all of the students in the elementary school go out and play for recess and come back inside for class.

One day Patty decided that she would teach her own children different subjects just like the teachers in the school. In order to accomplish this, Patty watched the teachers every day through the window just to see what they taught. However, most of the subjects the teachers taught didn’t apply to her. For example, a bird wouldn’t have any reason to learn math.

Patty decided that her children should be taught subjects that birds would learn as they grew up. By now, they both already knew how to fly, but Patty knew her children would have to learn other things as well.

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Nest ©Animalspot

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Nest ©Animalspot

Patty began to teach her two children, Maggie and Robert, on Monday because Patty noticed how school always began on Mondays. Her first class was Advanced Nest Building, as Patty called it, which taught Maggie and Robert how to build extravagant nests that could span an entire tree branch. Patty had Maggie and Robert follow her around and explained to them what type of sticks and moss to pick up to make their nests large and sturdy so that they didn’t break apart in the rain.

Birds Learning About Worms ©BirdsOutsideMyWindow

The next class Patty taught Maggie and Robert was what Patty titled Advanced Worm Catching. Maggie and Robert watched their mother sit on top of a tree branch before swooping down to catch a large round worm. Throughout the week, Patty taught them how to catch worms at the right time and place and added that the best time to catch them was after it rained.

The third class Patty taught them was Self Defense, in case something ever attacked the nest. One day, a squirrel crawled up the tree in search of some acorns and Maggie and Robert watched as Patty batted the squirrel away with her wings. They were sure their mother must have done a good job because a teacher from inside the school opened up the window to see what was making all of the racket outside.

Bird Chasing Squirrel ©Houston 2 - Mark Rogerson

Bird Chasing Squirrel ©Houston 2 – Mark Rogerson

Patty was sure to teach Maggie and Robert these subjects every day just like the teachers did with the students at school. When Maggie and Robert grew up they built their own nests just like Patty taught them in Advanced Nest Building. And when Maggie and Robert had children of their own they taught them the same things that Patty had taught long before so that they knew how to catch good worms, build large nests, and keep their young protected.

The teachers at the school never understood where the loud squawking was coming from inside the large oak tree, but Patty knew it was her grandchildren practicing in case a squirrel ever climbed the tree. Patty felt very proud that her children and grandchildren thought that she had done a good job as a teacher.

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalms 32:8 KJV)


Lee’s Addition:

Wow, Emma! Your stories just keep getting better all the time. Lord bless you as journey through your Senior year in High School. May you continue to develop your writing abilities the Lord has given you.

(Photos and verses added by Lee [that is why the pictures don’t exactly match the birds in the story])

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More of Emma’s great stories. You can see her steady development in her Bird Tales.

Watch for a new page for Emma’s Stories in the left menu soon. We need to honor her with her own page. She has well earned it.

UPDATE: Just Add A New Page For Emma – – Emma’s Stories

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