Saturday, September 1, 2012

Grey Heron with chick under its wing

On the morning of 31 August 2012, while strolling along the track in the Lorong Halus Wetland, I passed by the usual suspects of Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea), which always park themselves on the buoys in the Serangoon Reservoir. But I noticed that one of them was standing closer to the bank, which wasn't a usual thing to do. So I decided to take some photos of it as it was within my lens' range.

Through the camera view finder I noted a pinkish blob under the bird's neck and slightly to the left of its chest. I thought it had suffered a flesh injury from a fight with another heron. It frequently bent its head to stroke the pink flesh.

Upon blowing up the picture on my notebook, I saw that there was a tiny beak poking out from where the pinkish flesh was. I was blown off my seat as it was a very young almost featherless chick that was tucked under the parent's wing.

Is this method of caring for its young usual for Grey Herons? I always saw the nestlings in their tree-top twigs nests in the Pasir Ris Park, so this was a surprise. Interestingly, when the adult flew off, the chick didn't fall out. How was this possible?


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