The birds pictured throughout belong to the family Ardeidae. Common near freshwater and marine coastal environments, there are 64 known species.
The great blue (Ardea herodia) is North America’s largest heron. Breeding in seemingly haphazard tree-top nests, a mated pair will carefully pass each purposefully chosen stick from retriever to nest-builder as a part of a biologically programmed courtship.
Often breeding in multi-species colonies, the great blue tolerates other heron species their colonies. Quite possibly a defensive measure against nest robbers, survival and reproductive success is a numbers game. “You can enjoy my neighbor’s eggs, but stay out of my home.”
Often nesting between branches in and around great blue herons is the smaller, but no less beautful, great egret (Ardea alba). Their all white body is adorned with fine dorsal feathers and a green facial cere during the reproductive season.
All images were photographed from a canoe. The equipment used was a Nikon D3 and Nikon 200-400mm f4.0VR attached to a Gitzo Series 3 tripod wedged between my body and the bow of the canoe.
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