The Current Journal is always Here All Contents Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. DO NOT USE photos without permission Photo Equipment Used Ethics Feedback Coyotes Bird Rescue Advice Name That Bird Herons Egrets Herons & Egrets Books and Links Pelican Beak Weirdness Pelicans Playing Catch Rouses Courtship Displays 800e Journal G5 Journal Duck Love Birding Galveston 2nd Birds of the Lower Rio Grande Valley & the 1st 14 seconds of Bald Eagle This Month: Feeding Great Blue Herons at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation JRLinks JRCompton.com resume links Contact Me My Other Passion: DallasArtsRevue
Our Visit to Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation
in early January 2014
Sometimes, finding the perfect stick for just the right place in a nest is a difficult enough task without silly humans making jokes about its tenacity with the stick, which it would not — at first — put down even to get some beef heart.
Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation proprietor Kathy teased this Great Blue when it answered Kathy's call flying into the parking lot / feeding area, because for awhile it kept its nest stick and refused to put it down to put food in their instead. After awhile, however, it relented and ate. I believe Kathy knows each one on sight, and she's nearly on a first-name basis with them.
As Kathy fed beef hearts to GBHs, Anna Palmer, I and Sean Fitzgerald photographed what was standing, jumping, flying, getting along and not getting along, fighting and showing off, as only Great Blue Herons are likely to be, although they have much of that behavior in common with other herons and egrets and most other birds.
This particular set-up was Kathy Rogers herself feeding Beef Heart to Great Blue Herons, some of whom had already gathered on the grounds and others that she called down from the surrounding trees, where we could already see nests going high above. Not exactly the elegant GBH form I'm used to photographing,.
So, of all those times we'd visited Rogers before, we had never seen the afternoon feeding of the herons before — and I had worried we were going out there too late in the day. I'd say we really lucked out this time.
It's breeding season a couple months early, so when they show off, they are showing off for each other, and the battles are often — but not always — just another opportunity to show off. But I doubt what they look like to us ever crosses their minds, and of course, they are much smarter than we humans have given them credit for yet.
The action was in the wide open spaces of the facility's parking lot, so you may see cars, trucks and other vehicular objects in the backgrounds.
I'm not sure why this heron is holding its wings like that, but now, upon consideration, I suspect it has just landed. It's hard to remember every shot, when there were so many in such rapid succession. I've even slightly expanded yesterday's entry with more photographs of the Great Blue Heron feeding action.
These photographs were originally presented in two separate, daily journal entries, but that always confused me, so I have rearranged them in my usual, mostly chronological order.
They are wonderful and beautiful birds, and my all-time favorite bird species. One flying over the dam at White Rock Lake appears on the business card I hand out to prospective Amateur Birder's Journal readers.
I have seen and photographed Great Blue Herons often, but this is the first time I've seen many of the occasions I photographed this very pleasant Saturday afternoon. I'd never seen humans feeding them, except before at Rogers, when I saw just-born infants fed and teenagers fed. These are the first active adults I've seen fed by anyone but themselves.
Yes, exuberance. The last three shots were the same bird.
More Great Blue Heron action tomorrow, then owls, herons, little and bigger birds from Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation tomorrow and the soon coming days.
Today we have more images from the flurry of action at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation from Saturday's photographs there. Most of the rest of my shots are of birds inside the office or outside either wandering around or in large, house-like cages who are being rehabilitated. I'll show you the usually smaller birds in the city of cages inside the office later this week.
After awhile of standing with one foot up and one foot down, after balance is assured, the up foot tends to disappear into feathers, so it really looks as if it only has that one.
No birds I know of actually chew their food. Like Great Blue Herons, they swallow and let their innards process what goes down. One of the reasons what they scat is white is the calcium content of the bones that go down with meat. I asked Kathy Rogers how long it takes for them to digest food. She said it happens "almost immediately." I'd been thinking that might be why some herons/egrets just stand there awhile after their neck enlarges and the whole of whatever they're eating goes down the tube. Kathy calls this position, their "bowling pin" look.
Or stand on a near-by rooftop looking devilishly handsome with that occipital plume curling in the wind.
A couple times the five or six — I never really got around to counting I was so intensely busy and excited about photographing these guys eating, playing, battling and whatevering, one or another of them would take wing and just fly off. Must be nice.
This GBH (Great Blue Heron) is engaging in classic GBH form, flying around the area, because it can.
Over the rooftops and through the woods to the nests where they now live.
Regular visitors of Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation, where more than a thousand birds are rehabilitated every year, will be familiar with these rescued and rehabilitated Great Blue Herons who have made themselves at home on the Rogers grounds and roofs as well as high in the trees around.
Young herons don't much like being in cages, so they are often allowed to just wander around on top of the rows of cages or on the floor. Essentially wherever they want to go. There was also a young egret doing the same thing when I shot this.
Pevious Amateur Birder's Journal stories from Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation: April 2008; June 2008; then later that same month; August 2009; June 2010; January 2011 - Rogers Birds at Trinity Audubon Center; December 2011
My first thought was a shrike, even though I don't know shrikes. But shrikes have that handsome mask extending back from a dark beak. If what is behind it in the same cage is another one just like it, it might just be a Purple Martin, since shrikes have dark wings but not dark upper bodies, and Purple Martins have similarly oriented colors and that thatched front. The back bird looks like a swift. .
But then, I don't know this chicken, either. Looks kinda like a Mexican wrestler in a mask.
I know this one. It's a Great Horned Owl, except its great horns are down and may be damaged. I wonder about that one, small, red feather on top of its head.
Perhaps even an adult male Barn Owl
With a bright yellow breast.
Oh, and it's not like I haven't been to the lake lately. I go at least every other day. Just I haven't got anything that interesting lately. I do have some older shots from Sunset Bay of pelicans and cormorants, etc. I might post some of those, but these are more interesting to me.
By getting the lens up very close to the cage's woven wire, I can focus on the bird. The drawback is that the design of the cage shows out of focus in what appears to be the background. Foreground, too, sometimes. All these birds were busy being rehabilitated in one way or another, and most were photographed behind wire grids of one sort or another. I'm showing seven images a day till I finish the indoors/cage portion of the RWR project, in three days.
Kathy Rogers helps hold the long-beaked American White Pelican, so we all got to experience touching the various textures involved in one pelican who's being rehabilitated. When I finally got a decent photo, I touched it, too. Nice to be close with someone I photograph so often.
It's about to feed on the meat. I couldn't tell if it had also been working on the crossword puzzle. But it walked odd and leaning. They always look so big in photographs but in life and in this cage, this bird seemed very small.
The cage disappeared almost completely in this shot, but the two owls stayed right there, under their quilted quonset hut that's almost like burrowing in the ground, something to be enclosed by and in, this one a little more brave than the other one, peeking out in the relative darkness.
Almost every time the parrot said "Hi," somebody in the office would answer, "Hi." Very simple interaction. I didn't know whether answering it was therapy, or just the polite thing to do. I've often read that parrots are actually intelligent, but all this one ever said was "hi." So that's what I said, too. At least four times while the volunteers washed and fed and cleaned up and tended to the birds they were rehabilitating, and I was photographing.
Anna spied one of these birds on the road past the swamp at the Fort Worth Drying Beds (That name is on a big sign at its entrance. Everybody else calls it the Village Creek Drying Beds, although there's no sign for that.) We both photographed that cuckoo, and it was the only one we ever have. Till this one. I didn't want to pester anyone in the office, because all those volunteers were very busy, and we were just the interloping photographers.
This one, like the one on top of today's journal entry, is in the cage/rooms behind the office.
text and photographs Copyright 2014 by J
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission from and payment to the writer or photographer. My favorite answer is, "I don't know." I am, after all, an amateur. I've only been birding for seven years — nearly all of which is documented on my Bird Journal.
I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally and almost always amateurishly since at least 1964. Thanks always to Anna.
since January 20 2014