An unguarded nest is a target for Egrets to steal branches, or worse attack the young and take the nest for their own. This attack, a planned and structured method, took place over the course of several hours.
Note: a gallery here includes a large number of images not on this page. Click the gallery to view the full documented attack.
First the Egret intimidates the young and tests to see how much they are able to protect themselves. A series of moves making them look larger, quick strikes to the nest itself, and then moving back to assess everything. It was really amazing how a bird had this so well planned.
Above the Egret makes moves to agitate the young, and make them use energy.
After some time a lightning quick attack to grab or spear a young bird happens.
Here the juveniles act together to fight the attacker.
Click an image below to view the gallery. This is a step by step of the attack and the young birds beating back the Egret.
Several things were clear over the several hours this relentless attack took place. The first thing is if there had been a single chick, not uncommon, the Egret would have killed the chick. Also luck was in the chicks favor here.The attacker stopped when another Egret flew in. This gave the young time to rest, and an adult to come back.
The Egret victory is inevitable if a adult does not return within a reasonable time. Here the chicks were saved (yes, a happy ending here).
Great Egrets are one of the most beautiful birds in nature. I also believe they are among the most brutal.