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      Nature Report: Colonial Waterbirds

      Perched above its bulky nest of sticks on Green Island, a great egret pauses before descending.

      As the adult gracefully touches down on the edge of the nest, it vocalizes to the young.

      Recognizing their parent's voice the young begin to stir as the adult walks into the nest.

      The youngsters get to their feet somewhat awkwardly, but quickly begin to seek a meal, and one aggressively grabs the adult's bill with surprising strength and hangs on to receive a regurgitated meal.

      There are some dozen species of colonial waterbirds nesting on Green Island, and all of them are busily raising young.

      These two young ibis are small but vocal, and noisily anticipate the arrival of a meal.

      Soon, their parent carefully enters the well-concealed nest tucked amidst thorny brush and sharp cactus spines.

      Quickly, the smaller of the two chicks stretches for its parent's bill and fearlessly thrusts its head into the adult's wide-open bill.

      This head swallowing routine will continue for many minutes, but no matter how much the little ibis consume they never seem to be satisfied.

      It is no different with the great egrets, and the demanding youngsters finally force their parent to shake its head and move to the far side of the nest for a brief respite.

      After spending some four weeks incubating their eggs, the great egrets will feed the young for approximately 40 days before their offspring are ready to fly.

      Meanwhile, there are many more meals to be delivered to the ravenous nestlings of Green Island.

      With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore.