Wow, I am WAY late to this heron party. Hey MO Birders! Look how awesome the communication is in our community! Great to see.
It’s already been arrived at, but I agree that the chicks are Little Blues. Gray-blue eye (though that’s not always diagnostic), blue-pink bill with dark tip. After looking over many photos of nestlings, it appears to me that bill color and bare parts (eye ring and lore skin) get lighter as the chicks age (darker = younger by a few days probably), though I didn’t find a citation for that. But this may explain the difference in the blue-pink bill of a few of the nestlings and the dark bill of the other.
Couldn’t see the tarsi and feet in the photos, but found these in BNA:
Little Blue: Skin, tarsus, and toes pinkish gray to medium gray (Mcvaugh 1972). That’s quite a range and not super helpful…
Snowy: Tarsi always darker than toes
Black-crowned Night-Heron: Down is shades of gray and brown, and a stockier bird
Just an extra 2 cents 4 days late! 😊
Well done to everyone who banded together to help these birds and educate the proper audiences. Proud, as always, to be a MO birder.
State Ornithologist, Missouri Department of Conservation
Birds are awesome.
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