In the swamp it really is survival of the fittest. This young bird was one of three, and he survived. Now he is old enough for the adults to leave him while they hunt. This means there is a new set of dangers.
(This is a long article with multiple photographs)
Egrets have been building a nest almost on top of the Great Blues. It looks like they have even claimed some of the sticks as their own.
Both birds are predators. Great Egrets will attack a lone juvenile to eliminate competition. The young birds learn to protect their nest as well as themselves.
This juvenile will push back at the Egrets every time they get too close. That makes it an on going problem.
Having survived two siblings, and the fight for food, he is fairly aggressive. However he is also smart enough to hold back from a full attack.
This Great Egret can stand his ground without having to actually get into a full fight with the larger Heron. Since there are no Egret chicks yet this is about as close as the Egret wants to get.
You can see in the series above how each bird will reach out, snap (and squawk), finally falling back away.
Every year this happens, usually it’s all noise. On a few occasions if young Herons are too small they fall prey to a pair Egrets.
It’s all about timing. The juvenile Herons are beginning to fly just as the small Egrets hatch.
This particular young Great Blue will be off the nest by the time the Egrets have young.
Always an adventure out there.