Snowy Egrets do sometimes change nesting locations, but they also show loyalty to the same sites year after year. This tree was actually an emergency roost for them after their previous habitat was razed for the same reasons: residents in a housing development complained. So, they were evicted from one home, found another, and now face the same conundrum of locating a safe place to raise their babies.
I originally named this portrait "Standing Room Only." I'd never seen a Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) creep chest-high into a pool -- then just stand there forever like a Japanese snow monkey.
During the week after I first documented the branch-bearing herons, I returned to the park to watch the avian house builders again. I posted to my Facebook page that I stood for an hour that first day, mesmerized by this testament to renewal. In the end, there were 40+ new nests and trees full of heron chatter.
It begins with a twig in the bill and the throaty croak of the swamp. They're creatures of the marshes, the Great Blues, now on ascent to a season in the trees where nests incubate eggs, and where clumsy young legs will soon dawdle on branches until they get their wings.