Visitors 21
Modified 28-Jun-12
Created 1-May-12
130 photos

Nyctanassa violacea

Brackenridge Park
San Antonio River
San Antonio, Texas

Both sexes help build the nest, which can be as high as 60 feet or so, away from the trunk on a horizontal limb, often hanging over water. This one is located over the San Antonio River about 20 feet high in a Pond Cypress. The female stands on the nest site while the male carries sticks to her as part of the pair-bonding process. As the nest comes along, the female begins to gather sticks as well—the birds typically strip sticks from the limbs of dead trees rather than gathering them from the ground. Sticks can be up to about 2 feet long and 1 inch thick. The twig nest is sometimes lined with leaves, vines, or Spanish moss. The nest takes about 11 days to build initially, night-herons use them for several years, adding to them each year. Nests can be 4 feet across, with just a shallow depression inside for the eggs.

I had to abandon the nest for a trip to Virginia to be with my older children. During my absence, Shyamala Rao, Wildlife Artist, continued to monitor the nest and provided this series of brilliant shots (95 - 104) of the fledglings. Thank you, Shyamala, for documenting this critical growth spurt that would have otherwise been missed!

Please visit Shyamala's magnificent wildlife gallery and blog
Nest building ~ 23 April 12Relief from nest duty

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