The Google Egrets

Mountain View, a town in the heart of Silcon Valley, is home to many "Tech Giants" including Google.


The Google campus stretches over many buildings covering several blocks in all directions. Shady tree-lined roads run between these buildings, joining together the parking lots next to each building.


At one point, one of these roads between buildings is blocked off with a series of traffic cones, each of which carries a sign:

The road passes between a number of Google buildings, and is blocked off for vehicle traffic for between 50 and 100 yards. Lining this short stretch there are a handfull of large mature Sycamore trees.


We wander down the road, camera at the ready, not knowing quite what to expect. Gaze up in the trees - and Yes! There is a nest - with something white and fluffy in it just visible.


And on the ground below, in the landscaped growth between the road and the building, a little fellow is walking round unsteadily. In all likelihood he tried to fly before he was old enough, or fell out of the nest. He appears unharmed and seems to be looking for something. At no time does he try to fly - he just keeps walking.


A few yards further down the road, there is a huge white stain on the blacktop - an indication that there must be a lot of nests overhead. So we look again from this angle... Probably a dozen nests in this tree, all occupied. But looking from underneath, one can't see much of the actual bids.


Yes! There's a glimpse!


And on another nest, there is a pair canoodling with their beaks. But the view from underneath and behind is frustrating.


Patience is rewarded when one of them comes out on a branch to show his fine form.


Binocular vision is important for judging distance, and if you are a bird who hunts while flying, you have to be able to see down while also looking ahead. Here you can tell how both eyes have a clear view of what is below even without the head pointing down.


It is hard to see how long the neck is while the bird is just sitting - the "S" bend can make the neck almost disappear


A slightly better view, but even here, the neck is only partially extended,


Meanwhile, the youngster we saw earlier walking on the ground, has reached the kerb at the edge of the road. (It is fairly obvious that he is still immature, but the black beak confirms this. Mature birds have a yellow beak)


Suddenly there is a kerfuffle and a-squawking on a branch above. Somebody is angry and upset.


One juvenile is chasing another along a branch - both birds protesting loudly. The phrase "Ruffled Feathers" comes to mind.


From the color of their beaks we can see that both are juveniles - probably siblings from the same nest learning how to behave like grown-ups yelling at each other


Eventualy the squawking and ruffled feathers die down.


And moments later, the spat is forgotten and the two pose side-by-side for me.


Meanwhile, on the ground we have spotted another youngster. This one is not nearly ready to fly and must have fallen out of the nest. He hasn't moved for minutes, his eyes are closed, but he seems to be alive.


Our other friend who we saw walking around earlier spots the even younger chick, and makes his way over to investigate.


Our friend approaches the younger chick and appeard to greet him by grasping his beak in his own. I'm not sure what this means - just a greeting or maybe a premature and clumsy outing of an instict to feed a younger bird?


The two birds withdraw briefly before resuming their beak-to-beak acquaintanceship.


And so we leave them - hoping that these two will survive long enough to learn how to fly and lead adult lives. In the trees above and around them, life in the colony goes on - and who knows what new technology is being born in the building next door?