Two Tales to Tell – Egret, Gull and Starlings


The gull chased the Egrets.

Are you not amazed when something little chases something big? Both had food and the gull got greedy. Animal behavior always amazes me because the unexpected is many times what occurs. The scene above is the result of the gull advancing on the Great White Egrets, frog in beak. The egret in flight dropped her fish about where the gull is standing.


These are the two players in the little drama before they flew to the small island.


This scene was very far away and my 400mm was maxed out to full zoom being handheld, so images are not very clear. But it was kinda interesting to watch.


Everybody is happy for the moment, until each gets some food. Above, the gull holds his catch and below the egret snags a fish.


Egret with fish.

They size up each others’ catch, where they should be sizing up each other.


Now look at the size of the fish compared to the gull. It is a pretty big meal to swallow for a gull.  But the gull chased off the egret pair anyway.

SeagullFrogWhy? I think because the gull only had a frog and they had a nice sized fish. Which is bigger?


The egret stands her ground, but only for a moment. It is like the gull is saying, “Get off my island, all the bounty is mine.”

Another egret flies in for the showdown. I bet the spectator thought, “What the heck, this is not very impressive to our species dropping a catch to a little opponent, come on fellas, there are two of you.”

Well, not worth the trouble I guess. Off they go…without their fish.


Here they landed at another small island. Hope the fishing is better.


What a great morning…or is it?


Beaver Island pond and marsh.

Drama for a Starling Family

Wildlife Blind for viewing and photographing.

Wildlife Blind for viewing and photographing.

This is where the Starlings are residing. It is a small building/blind next to the water used for birdwatching the song and wading birds. Unfortunately, tragedy struck the Starling nestlings and the parents were frantic.


The whole time the parents were screaming, flying back and forth frantically. I thought it was me they were trying to chase off. I had no idea what was about to occur. I am standing back, photographing the parents and getting some decent images from a distance.

Each parent had a beak full of grubs for the young.


Two Goldfinch look on.

Goldfinch-2 Goldfinch

Mom sits and holds the grubs.


Momma Starling with breakfast.

The concerned father waits on the split rail.


The male Starling holding feed for the young ones.

What is awaiting the parents?


Sad to see…


A baby starling in the clutch made a huge mistake, is shown at the nest entrance. I never saw this sad scene when I took the shot, I was just trying to get the nest entrance with my camera held over my head. Where are the wings on the baby bird?

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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33 Responses to Two Tales to Tell – Egret, Gull and Starlings

  1. Phil Lanoue says:

    That really is a great sequence and an excellent display of nature in action. I can see what you mean about wishing it was all closer but often we have to make the best of what we are given and you certainly did here. I especially like the fifth and sixth photos down, where the egret catches his fish, then when the gull and egret are sort of facing down each other. Great presentation of the bird behavior!

    • Thank you. I was not even going to post them because the lighting was not good and they were not very sharp. But… what was going on was interesting. I thought the gull had hutzpah! I wish I had his fortitude and confidence! The face down lasted a bit too. It was like neither knew what to do next. The gull must have sensed it was getting the fish to walk forward with all the herons around. I guess they could have pecked at him.

  2. rebecca says:

    Those ARE some really striking photos! The description of the action was great narrative, too!

    • Thank you Rebecca. I so wish I was closer to see the bird expressions. My cockatoo shows anger really well, plus stomps when unhappy, so I bet these birds could read each others thoughts through the facial expression and the carrying of the body.

  3. Brian Comeau says:

    That last image is so sad…

  4. I know some people who act like the gull. But thankfully, not too many.

  5. Poor baby bird…
    …and it was an amazing journey!

  6. connie661 says:

    I’ve seen crows harass hawks, although it’s usually two or three crows against one hawk. But of course, mosquitoes don’t have a problem preying on much larger humans, and when they get annoying, we just go inside

  7. Great captures despite being so far away! It is frustrating when you see a great opportunity but can’t get as close as you would like! Gulls are very cheeky birds! I think herons are rather skittish too so it is not surprising they didn’t put up much of a fight. Maybe they know there is more fish in the pond. 🙂 The image of the baby bird is heartbreaking but I always tell my self nature has its reasons that we don’t always understand.

    • I know gulls are daring, but this one just walked over and the heron spit out its fish. The heron could have swallowed the fish easily and there would have been no stare down.A head scratchier to me.

      I got emailed some images from Phil in the first comment of a egret in flight and a gull flying up behind it and stealing the fish the egret had it its beak…in full flight! The photos are literally amazing – perfectly clear with all the action recorded. That really showed how aggressive gulls can be. I told him to make sure and post them sometime. You should go to his site Karin, you like nature/bird photography as much as I do.

  8. ZielonaMila says:

    Beautiful photographs, wonderful birds, I like to admire such views:) Greetings

  9. I once saw an Oriole chasing a Red-tailed Hawk! I was impressed!

  10. Rose says:

    Loved your two tales, though I wish the second one had a happier ending. I have been watching some black birds (can’t tell just what they are from a distance) chasing off a red-tailed hawk several times lately. It’s been funny to watch; apparently that hawk isn’t going to snag any food in my yard:)

    I’ve haven’t had much time for blog reading the last few weeks; I’ve missed seeing your beautiful photography, so it was a delight to visit here again.

  11. waji says:

    amazing shots…i have been absent on i come and 1stly visit your blog and its amazing as always ^_^

  12. Beautiful Captures and so sad about the last photo! I love watching and photographing bird life – just so interesting at times. Happy Friday – Happy Weekend:)

  13. janechese says:

    I like the distance you kept otherwise it would be disturbing. Great stories here except the last one is sad. But that is how things are. Happy summer!

  14. Amazing photographs. So sad about the baby starling. As to the herons and the gull, it seems those who are most aggressive tend to get what they want.

  15. Pat says:

    A Red-shouldered Hawk has been hanging around here today and several times I’ve watched smaller birds (Grackles, I think) mobbing him and chasing him from the area. There is a RSH nest nearby and I know the parents are busy hunting.
    Your last photo is really sad.

  16. Awww, poor baby. 😦 Just part of nature, I guess, but very sad. Thanks for sharing the stories–I feel like I was watching a nature video. Nicely done!

  17. Pingback: And the Oriole chases the Hawk | standingoutinmyfield

  18. Cheryl says:

    Two Tales to Tell is so wonderfully written. Between your well woven words and the pictures, I felt as I was standing there as you had your experience.

  19. It is so hard to see the death of baby birds…we have only been left with feathers or an empty est which I think I prefer. I watch small birds chasing hawks a lot…funny how they are so brave when they are protecting…

  20. Graziella says:

    oohh poor bird! Whoever says that animals (birds in this case) don’t have emotions is wrong. It takes the witnessing of such tragedies to realize that even though they are different from us and may not have our capacity for such things they still understand what’s going on and feel distress.

  21. A.M.B. says:

    Oh, how sad! Nature comes with its highs and lows. It’s hard to explain that aspect of it to my kids when they see the sad remains near nests around here.

  22. supernova1c says:

    Hi there Donna, yes its funny but I’ve also seen this behaviour many times, where a much smaller bird (in comparison) especially crows, have been chasing a heron away. They fly for some distance following and badgering the heron and the crows are clearly disturbed by its presence, again like the circumstances you describe, the herons are clearly much more disturbed by the smaller bird and can’t seem to get away fast enough. On occasion I’ve even seen tiny birds (skylark size), harassing herons in the air too, sometimes in conjunction with a crow! Interesting behaviour!
    Sad to see the little bird and the confusion and shock of the parents, really sad…

  23. Fergiemoto says:

    Beautiful bird photos, especially of the egrets! It’s always a treat to see them in action like this.

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