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.
As a volunteer in a wildlife hospital, the training involves detachment — because you will let go. Whether it is through the rehabilitation and subsequent release of the animal, or through that animal’s death, the relationship ends, as it should, when the animal is freed to his or her rightful destiny. Everything from objective language to silent, limited interaction with the patients is part of that process.
Starlings are common residents in my city landscape. In appearance they are kaleidoscopic, polychromatic, iridescent, resplendent. In song, they are whistles, chants, murmurs and twitters. Every spring, they find ways to reconfigure urban structures into sanctuaries for their nests -- structures like this corrugated metal framework.
This isn't the first time I've seen an Osprey napping with a fish in his talons. Last year, while observing the platform way across Seattle's long-abused-but-recovering Duwamish River I watched a male Osprey land on a utility pole, clutching a half-eaten meal. A crow who'd been tailing the Osprey, landed alongside. The Osprey perched, adjusted -- then appeared to doze off.
The flight path started at distant patches of seaweed which passing cormorants would pick off the water and carry back to their nesting towers. In the image below, a Pelagic Cormorant with characteristic white flanks, handed off a seaweed prize to his lady love. Since both male and female incubate, I'm not 100 percent sure of the sexes here, but the gift bringer did seem the larger of the two, which would suggest a male.
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.
Four of our six Seattle neighborhood Ospreys returned last week from the long haul of their migration. If you haven't seen the tracking maps showing Osprey travel routes, take a look at this website: Osprey migration maps. For these studies, Ospreys are fitted with light satellite transmitters that fall off after two to three years. In the time before the Ospreys lose the transmitter, researchers gather data about their final destinations and their various stops along the way.