Great Blue Herons courting

They’re a couple of weeks later than last year, but the Great Blue Herons of Sapsucker Woods have returned to their nest outside our offices. The male from past years (recognizable by the missing rear toe on his right foot) was first spotted on April 4, and on April 8 a female joined him on the nest. For more than two hours, the herons perched near one another, taking time to preen, joust with their bills, and tug at the sticks in the nest as spring peepers chorused and the light grew dim.

In past years, these first days of courtship have rapidly led to egg-laying and incubation. Bird Cams viewers have watched the birds continuing to court and arrange the nest in recent days. The birds copulated on April 9, suggesting a first egg may arrive soon.

This nest has a four-year history of fledging young (last year saw a bumper crop of five juvenile herons). Don’t miss the incredible courtship of these beautiful birds, viewed live from 40 feet above Sapsucker Woods Pond.

We’ll continue to post updates on the Bird Cams Facebook page and on twitter at @birdcams. Thanks for joining us as we share the beauty and excitement of another breeding season unfolding in Sapsucker Woods!

(Image: screen capture from Bird Cams)

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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