Egret Factory

Past Ciudad Neily, out in the palm oil and rice country (around Coto 47), is a stand of tall trees. In this stand of trees is a quite amazing HERONRY (also known as a rookery).

Perhaps over 300 Great Egret nests are progressing quite nicely in these trees (this is a very low estimate on my part). Each nest when completed will contain from 3-5 eggs/chicks.

Any guesses as to what percentage of these baby egrets will survive to to adulthood and start their own families?

This percentage is quite low. Eggs break before hatching, ants, parasitic flies, snakes, squirrels and other birds take quite a few of the eggs/young. Many young birds fall or get pushed out of the nest before they are ready to fly. For predators, such as caiman, crocodiles, snakes and small mammals, living below a heronry such as the one shown below must be like an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Before you give out with an, ‘Ah, those poor baby egrets‘; just think (or do the math) as to where the rest of world would be if all those 3-5 baby egrets in those hundreds of nests survived…and then they all successfully raised 3-5 babies and then those…ad infinitum. In no time at all, things would get quite EGRET-Y on this world.

Nature pretty much always knows what it is doing. And as Alfred, Lord Tennyson popularized, ‘Nature is red, in tooth and claw.

For those of us with a passion for nature observation, this heronry is a sight to behold!

Heronry near Coto 47: photo courtesy of Jimmy New.

If you look closely you might see some dark-colored birds in there as well. These are nesting Anhingas (also known as Snake Birds, in the cormorant family). So I guess this makes the site a Heronry/Anhingary. Which is nice.