Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: Great blue herons are very territorial, and are that way from the moment they fledge from the nest. Each bird wants his share on the shoreline … and will fight to maintain control of the area. The fledgling great blue heron tried to land on the shore of the riprap. He was promptly flattened by a subadult great blue heron – about 1 1/2 years-old – who had a stake on that piece of property. The ensuing fight was loud and quite aggressive on both sides. The fledgeling is the one whose head is mostly a mottled brown and the subadult has a lot of white on his face and the beginning of the black striped cap of an adult. Neither bird seemed worse for the fight as the fledgling, for the moment relinquishing thoughts of acquiring the piece of shoreline, headed for the opposite side of the river. It finally got quiet on the riprap.
Mom osprey was set to grab the fish and bolt for her nest. The fledgling great blue heron, being very inexperienced, tried to get the fish too. A mature great blue heron would not have made the attempt. Mom osprey would not have challenged an adult great blue heron. The fish won the face-off. This time.
The great blue herons are sorting out where the best fishing spots are within the riprap. The heron on the left is a juvenile, hatched last year. The heron on the far right is an adult and I think it is a female. The middle heron, who’s priority is evident while he eats and ignores the sparring of the other two, is a mature male great blue heron. The juvenile is using his crown feathers in a raised display, hoping to get the smaller heron to back off. It didn’t work. Right as I got to the end of the sequence, a 4th (unseen great blue heron) dove into the middle of the other three and they all scattered.
Doc is Heart-Sick and Angry about 3 young birds at Jordan Lake. All 3 are in trouble because someone couldn’t take the time to put broken line in the trash. A few steps to save a bird is all I am asking. Please remove trash of all kinds and help the birds and fish and people have a clean environment.