Saturday, June 24, 2006

News Flash: Green Herons

Green Heron fledgling near Upper Lobe nest --6/19/04
Photo by Cal Vornberger

Once again Green Heron Mom is sitting deep in the old nest at the Upper Lobe. Incubation began during the last few days, it appears. But everything is at least a month later than the timetable we're familiar with. The Green Herons I wrote about in Red-tails in Love [p125-128] began incubation on May 26 [1994]. We saw the first two of five fluffy chicks on June 23rd that year. With a few exceptions the Green Herons have been nesting in Central Park every year since then.

June 1994 was just after Pale Male's second failed nesting attempt at the Fifth Avenue nest that preceded his first successful nest--three chicks in 1995. Success at last.

This year, twelve years later, we've again endured a second failure in a row at 927 Fifth Avenue, following the nest-removal crisis of December 2004. Now the Green Herons are nesting again. The consolations of nature.

Where have the herons been this year? Have they had a failed nest somewhere else.? They aren't saying. But better late than never, say their Central Park fans who are looking forward to fuzzy heron chicks in three or four weeks. That brings us to mid July. The chicks will spend another three weeks growing in the nest before fledging in early August, by my calculations. Then almost a month of Green Heron finishing school at the Upper Lobe. The kids should be independent by Labor Day.