Approximately 3 weeks after an adult female Snowy Egret lays her eggs, between three and five chicks hatch from those eggs.
They will fledge in a month or so, but during that 30 days, both adults spend most of their time searching for food for their very hungry youngsters.
The chicks wait for the adults to return to the nest, and when one appears, the young birds vie for their attention and the food they carry.
Often the eldest or most agitated is chosen, and the adult regurgitates a beak-full of food directly into the wide-open mouth of the chick.
Can you believe that a chick that small can swallow so many minnows? They do—many times during the day—and grow quickly as a result of all that protein.
When I created the photo (above), the chicks, mostly pin feathers and fluff, were probably about a week old. A week later, one of these chicks (at left) had nearly doubled in size but still stood in (or on the edge of) the nest.