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A Summer of Heron Love Draws to a Close

September 12, 2014

Cormorants

EgretInSpringPHOTO RECAP – Part One

GRAB YOUR LATTE AND LOOK UP: The next time you pull into the parking lot of Starbuck’s across PCH from Malibu State Beach between April and September, cast your eyes to the adjacent trees. You are looking at a Heron and Cormorant Rookery that has been in this exact spot for at least 50 years. Herons here include Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Black Crowned Night Herons and Great Blue Herons.

EgretNest

Beginning around April, males arrive at the rookery to claim or build huge nests in the tree tops and flaunt the magnificent breeding plumage that once saw them to the brink of extinction for use in hats, (and incidentally led to the creation of the Audubon Society to protect them.)

The females arrive soon after, and courtship begins (and she does most of the work finishing the nest). Once mates are chosen, pair bonding follows.

EgretCourting

Mating occurs in the nest.

EgretsMating

And approximately three to four weeks later…

Parent&Child

Across PCH at Malibu Lagoon, Heron parents forage food for their chicks, as Killdeer and other fledglings begin to appear.

KilldeerChick

Black Crown Night Heron chicks nest in trees next to the Egrets. The chicks are seriously noisy as they try out their wings.

HeronWingTest

In the Photo Recap Part II the chicks learn to fly, forage and fly off into the world.

Laurel Hoctor Jones

Education Chair

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