Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 10 comments

A Christmas Story from the Herons

Many of you have read about our sadness in the birding world in So Florida when one of our beloved Great Blue Herons died in the very nest the two mates had just built.  Those of us who frequent the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, some of us nearly daily, have been through the normal stages of grief over this very sad thing to occur… just as these intelligent, beautiful birds allowed us to close-up witness their breath-taking courting rituals in their beautiful breeding plumage.  Then, once they “claimed” one another, the male began his regular deliveries of twigs and sticks and presented them to his female mate who determined whether they were suitable.  So many round trips to and from the nest while under construction. Sometimes we would chuckle quietly as she would take a twig and gently place it here, then there, then looking at her mate those eyes must have communicated, “Honey, this one will just not suffice!  Come back with something better.  OK?” Absolutely, a marvelous privilege to observe this beauty of nature with two strikingly gorgeous birds nearly 4 ft. tall…and then, the sadness in realizing the mate is lying deceased in the nest.  So, so sad.  

But, then, something else happened…the bittersweet realization that God had programmed these birds to stand by their mates even after death.  Mourning?  Grieving?  In shock?  It was their “time” to create more Great Blue Herons.  But, she has laid motionless for well over a week with her loyal mate at her side.  Oh, my goodness!  One of our birding friends reported that when she was there visiting that he lay down next to his mate and partially laid upon her.  So tender.  So divinely created they are.  More tears from the grieving and learning humans.  We’re sure it happens all the time in the wild, but in this totally beautiful rookery where the humans stand in awe to observe, photograph, learn and give thanks for the lovely, blessed opportunity , it’s right before our eyes not more than 15-20 feet away.  Front row seats, EVERY time!!

I broke my own rule… “Always believe something beautiful is about to happen.”  How do I let this happen to me?  I KNOW that God uses all our broken pieces to make something beautiful!  I KNOW that!!  

So, here is the beauty for today in the rookery of broken hearts.  The surviving mate, after standing guard over his deceased mate in the nest they built for nearly 2 weeks,  has now taken a new mate and as if we could already not be more inspired, they are building the new nest next to the original one AND they are using feathers from the deceased in the construction.  So, the deceased mate will be a part of the new family-to-be.

“Always believe something beautiful is about to happen!”

Yes, indeed!

Photo by Anne Diver ~





  1. 12-23-2014

    Beautifully written!

    • 12-23-2014

      Glad you liked it, Alica. And thank for visiting my site. We do enjoy our birds!!! 🙂

  2. 12-23-2014

    Pat, what a beautiful, heartwarming story!

    • 12-23-2014

      Thank you, Anne. We’ve all felt the tugging at our heart strings. Again, I appreciate the use of your photo!

  3. 12-23-2014

    Pat, once again, your words inspired me – it’s as if God is speaking through you. Yes, a beautiful ending to a story that seemed tragic to the human witnesses. A reminder that faith is a muscle. We must trust that there is a master plan at work for the highest good, even when we don’t see it!

    • 12-23-2014

      Maureen, I am glad to know this post spoke to you. We all have really felt all the different feelings of admiration of the lovely creatures and thankfulness for the amazing opportunity to observe and learn from them. So glad we know that there is a higher power Who works for good in all things.

  4. 12-23-2014

    very well said. Life is fragile for all the living creatures on this planet.

    • 1-6-2015

      Yes, we, the lovers of nature, must do all we can to advocate for protection of this great gift!!

  5. 1-27-2015

    Trisha…. Both your articles were beautiful…but this last one had me in tears! How inspiring…and HOW GREAT is our God. His creation mirrors His glory!!!

    • 1-27-2015

      Glad they spoke to you, Liz. Our God is so amazing and generous!

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