Guess what I saw in the parking lot at work? Fledging green heron chicks [reference]. (My thanks to Jorge for identifying them properly.)
I’d noticed the herons flying in and out at times during the past few months, but never even heard or saw the chicks before this, so I didn’t know they’d nested there. Around lunchtime, my colleagues told me they’d seen them, and even showed me photos they took with their cellphones, so I went outside and took a few of my own with my DSLR.
There weren’t just one or two, but six or seven of these little green heron chicks, standing about in the parking lot, unsure of themselves, eyeing me warily, wondering what I wanted to do with them. I guess it was their time to get weaned, so their parents either kicked them out of the nest, or they jumped out by themselves.
According to Wikipedia, they leave the nest at 16 days of age, and can’t fully fend for themselves until they’re 30-35 days of age. This means they’re going to be vulnerable to predators until then, and may even die of starvation if they can’t figure out how to get their food.
Photos taken in McLean, VA. Here’s hoping they’ll make it!