Great White Egret and Brood
The four young chicks looking up at their parent are expecting food, no doubt. However, feeding time must come later when the other parent brings back a freshly speared fish from the Gulf of Mexico, about 1.5 miles south (see map).
These chicks are so ugly, they are cute, but don't let them fool you. Although they appear sweet and innocent as they gaze upward toward the dear parent who gave them life, they are fratricidal. The term "brotherly love" does not define egrets. The little one bottom center is the weakest. They have been "picking" on it all afternoon. They will probably deny it food. Soon the little bird will either die or be killed and thrown from the nest to an awaiting alligator below.
The Great White Egret (Ardea alba) will nest in the coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast in Spring, and migrate in mid Summer. The young fledge in six weeks.
About photo: Taken with a 600 mm Nikon lens and Nikon D3S at Smith-Oak Rookery, High Island, Texas, April 29, 2012. It was awarded first place in the Animals Division at the St. Lukes Photo Contest, 2012.