The West Ninth rookery in Santa Rosa is active again with over 300 nests of egrets, black-crowned night herons and a few other species occupying three sheltering trees. Each spring the birds arrive, build their nests and raise their young, staying till mid-summer.
The majority of the birds are currently at the nestling or fledgling phase, although a few late-starter adults are still building nests. The cacophonous area is netted off and filled with soft straw for any birds unfortunate enough to fall or be pushed out of their nests by their more aggressive siblings; I witnessed one such incident yesterday. Volunteers monitor the site regularly throughout the nesting season and quickly rescue any fallen birds for later release.
An immature egret that made it to the ground but was unable to fly back up to the nest; it was rescued. A case of attempted fratricide: a nestling that was pushed out but was soon rescued by a volunteer.