Good News, Bad News

How many times have you been asked “Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news”? Tough choice sometimes. Maybe your response depends on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, a glass is half-full or half-empty kind of person, or you have some idea of the news you are expecting.

Admittedly, I tend to be a little cynical so I often say give me the good news first. But recently someone asked that question and I decided that I’d really rather end with a positive rather than a negative. Naturally, it turned out that the bad news wasn’t really bad at all; in fact, it was something I already knew. But that just made the good news better.

So, this time I am going to go with the bad news first and end on a more positive note. The bad news is that the Yellow-crowned Night Herons I had been keeping an eye on have abandoned the nest. If you recall, the lovely young couple was rebuilding last year’s nest and they seemed to have settled in. For weeks my family and I would check the nest on our evening walks, with occasional updates from friends and neighbors. Consistently there was a heron lying in the nest so we figured the other was out hunting for food, and maybe they were taking turns sitting on eggs and hunting. But as the weeks passed and we didn’t see the second heron, we wondered what was going on. Finally we happened upon the second heron present and were optimistic. But you see where this is going. Alas, it appears that any breeding was unsuccessful. Overnight they were gone, with no evidence of any young ones. It will be interesting to see if they return next year, especially as we don’t have any idea what happened, whether something got to any eggs there might have been, or they just didn’t hatch successfully. That’s the long and the short of the bad news.

The good news is, the Osprey couple on the local tower were more successful. Part of the challenge of being an amateur birder and also being a full-time employee is that opportunities for birding don’t always coincide with the demands of a job. That’s where your local friends, neighbors, and fellow birders come in. The bad news is, I only had a couple of opportunities to see that there was at least one chick in the nest, always late in the day when viewing tends to be almost right into the setting sun and when I didn’t have a camera with me. Bad photographer! The good new is, my birding guru Matt is way more in tune and a couple of days ago sent me the following:

Photo by Matt Salo

“I believe some of the chicks may have left the nest already. At least one was practising longer flights and flying between the two towers. At least one remains in the nest because an adult comes with a fish and is feeding something that I can’t see from my angle of view. ” Now this was the good news! I went by the next afternoon and was able to spot one small head still in the nest, and I suspect Matt was right, that the others had left the nest already. But still, good news is good news!

So there you have it. As I’ve noted before, birders tend to persistent and optimistic. If you enjoy better birding stories, I recently came across a blog post by someone who clearly has plenty of time and talent on their hands. It’s a fun read and the photos are great! I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time, chin (and eyes) up, and save the good news for last!

1 thought on “Good News, Bad News

  1. Hi Lynn,

    Thanks for the story, link and pictures! They are a delight to see and read. I’ll miss seeing the yellow crested night herons while they ply the grassy islands in Cheverly. I think one of the ospreys dropped a fish in the Rosso’s back yard. There was a 9” or 10” fish in the grass of their back yard. I asked Karl of they were stocking their new water garden with fish. He replied that they have some goldfish and lots of dragon flies but no bass, carp or trout. And me with out my fishing tackle.

    I just finished having Bill Carrigan remodel my downstairs powder room. Now I’m cleaning up after the demolition, grout, dust and things we missed. Hope all’s well with you, Joel and Abi!



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