Sonoran Desert Sunset

Sonoran Desert Sunset

23 February 2016


Please read this article from Audubon's online newsletter.  The headline is but a teaser of what is to come.  In part, the description of the rare Costa Rican Agami Heron's mating ritual includes ~ 

"Unlike many other species, it’s the female that has to win the male’s heart. Courtship starts when a male chooses a nesting site and starts displaying around it. This catches the eye of a female—and if she’s interested, she’ll come over and start dancing: shaking her plumes, rocking on her legs, turning bright red in the face, and bowing from time to time. The males then counter—and they can get aggressive, snapping and even stabbing the females with their razor-sharp beaks to try and rebuff them. “It’s very hard on the female,” Kushlan says. The process may go on for days, until the male finally accepts the partner and they start building a nest.

"The herons' courtship has never been described in such detail before. And thanks to Kushlan’s expert eye and Hines’s elaborate photos, the findings will be published in the journal Waterbirds in early June."

I've been a passionate birder for all my adult life, though the infirmities of age and Parkinson's have slowed me down.  My modest life list of some 350 species from all over the U.S. does include several enviable sightings, including Aplomado Falcon, Scissor-tailed Kite, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, Caracara, Montezuma Quail, Canyon Wren, Phainopepla, Allen's Hummingbird, Harris Hawk, Tufted Puffin, Mountain Bluebird, Brown-Headed Nuthatch, Elf Owl, Wood Thrush, Pomerine Jaegar, American Avocet, Water Ouzel, Cedar Waxwing, Mountain Chickadee, Acorn Woodpecker, Green Heron, Double-Crested Cormorant, Elegant Trogonand of course my state bird, Western Meadowlark, to name a few.

Back to the Agami Heron, for a reluctant parting look. 

Photos by Kirsten Hines

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