Normally we associate this kind of ferocity with the gathering of food. But these herons are gathering sticks, as they float down the San Antonio River. It seems odd at first, almost a game, gathering sticks; we all used to do it as children. But there is a competition going on here. The tree to which they return has well over a hundred nests; that is a lot of sticks, and no sticks, no nests; no nests, no eggs. You get the idea.

And there is something else going on here. As I explained last year–http://nwalthall.tumblr.com/post/87160129502/these-guys-are-of-course-building-a-nest–the femaie waits in the nest for the male to return with more sticks, which she vets for quality. If the stick is not good, she tosses it and scolds the male. Things don’t go well when a proper stick is not found. The stakes here could not be higher.

No pressure guys. ;-)