here is a stellar event occurring in Kansas right now that is visible and dramatic! One of the largest migratory birds is nesting in multiple sites in Kansas and surrounding states. The great blue heron is here! These four feet tall birds are gathered in rookeries where several families build nests in tall trees. They join forces to notify each other if bobcats, rat snakes, or raccoons come around looking for a meal in a tree. A landowner called me with a report of a rookery east of Great Bend. Here is a photo of one of those nests with parents quite visible. There are several nests in that group of trees.
These birds are communal when they have babies, but they are very quiet, solitary, wading spear-fishing hunters when feeding. I have pictures of great blue herons eating snakes almost as long as they are tall. They are quite comfortable in urban areas, and there have been nuisance reports of them consuming gold and ornamental fish in back-yard ponds. I think the bright fish must be about like M&Ms.... They are the signature bird of the Cheyenne Bottoms, and I can’t keep from taking one more picture of a great blue to go with the other 300 in my collection.
Another event that is significant right now is the arrival and nesting of the scissor-tailed flycatcher. They come up from South America this time of year and breed and nest in reportedly only seven states. We have nests down by Pratt at the Wildlife areas, and I am sure there are some here locally. In that regard, please let me enjoin all of you who read this column to call me if you have a wildlife event worthy of a picture. This column is for US, and sharing our bounty and beauty makes us all better stewards of the space and critters we are blessed to have in our area. My phone number is 620 292 7734 and I will do my best to get there and get a picture, and share it with our friends. The Tribune is so good in providing space for our wildlife. I am grateful!
Doc Witt is a retired physician and wildlife enthusiast.