This is one Mean Old Lady!

This is one Mean Old Lady!
Self-portrait: 'Quilter on Fire'

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Yes, please put me down as an admirer of green herons. Ever since the day in 2005 when I realized we had three nesting pairs in our live oaks, we've been treated to some close-up views.

Other names are striated heron and green-backed heron. A mature adult is very handsome indeed, with a mahogany breast, teal-green back, and touches of blue and yellow that can be seen if one is very close. They are very rapid fliers. Typically, they do not nest near bodies of water, though they will travel to lakes and ponds for food each day.

The pale aqua eggs are roughly half the size of a hen's egg; (these are not large herons.) The nests are somewhat untidy formations of sticks, usually well-hidden. The young grow rapidly and climb around onto the limbs that surround the nest.

I have these pictures somewhat scrambled, as I had to search around in my untidy files. Sorry!

The first year that we attracted nesting herons, there were seven offspring, and they boldly joined us at the pool every day, coming very close in order to catch the crickets on offer.

For the past two years, broad-winged hawks have also nested in the area...bird predators who took a number of the young. I am also appalled to report that gray squirrels will take young birds if not driven off by an alert adult.

One of our second story windows gave us views of the adult sitting on the nest( below.) Once the young have hatched, the adults are away much of the time as they gather food (small minnows to moderate-sized bream, frogs, insects) and return to feed the nestlings.

This year, sadly, we have not seen any of the herons returning, though we have spotted green herons at the lake. There is some evidence that the oaks have been visited, but so far, no tenants.

Yesterday, lying on the asphalt in a parking lot, we found a green heron baby--two weeks old, we estimated--so there must be nesting pairs around town....and predator birds, as well. Still feeling sad about that.

What luck to have had these birds sharing our trees and yard....hoping we'll attract more again some day.


  1. Point of order -- shall we "put you down as an admirer of green herons" as in, add you to our lists of green heron admirers, or "put you down as an admirer of green herons" as in, belittle and insult you because of your enthusiasm for green herons. I'm cool either way, but I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing.

    Those herons look relative to the herons I'm used to -- "Great Blue Herons," I believe -- like ponies look relative to giraffes. Like really attractive ponies, though.

  2. Can't you do both? LOL The Great Blue and Great White herons we see at the lake are indeed handsome birds, but of course since we consider the green herons hatched in our trees to be our very own 'baby grand-birds,' we have special affection for them.

  3. This past week I have been watching a live cam of a nesting Channel Island Allen hummingbird in Orange County, CA. There were originally two hatchlings, but one got eaten by a passing crow. The other one is just about ready to fledge. We are all cheering it on to fly before the crows come back. Maybe tomorrow it will fly. It can hover pretty good just above its nest.


Rose 'Crepuscular'

Asparagus bed--post harvest

Lake Conway Mutti und Kinder