Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bird a Day: Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is the largest and most common Heron found in North America. They stand around 4 ft. tall and have a wingspan of 6 ft. They fly with slow deep wing beats. (a good quality for photographers!)

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons will eat many kinds of animals, including mice, but they prefer fish. Because of this, they will often be found along the edges of a body of water. They are considered to be expert fishers. One of the most interesting things about Great Blue Herons, is the way they catch their fish. They stand or move very slowly through the water until they see their prey, then they stab it with their long sharp bills. (I have only witnessed this a few times and ultimately hope to capture it with my camera someday). They then swallow the fish whole. Herons have been known to choke to death trying to swallow prey that is too large.

Great Blues nest in colonies, usually called Heron rookeries. They will often have a few trees with several different Heron families. Their nests are made of sticks and both sexes take turns incubating the eggs for 25-29 days. Since they are in such close proximity to other Herons, they do not defend their nesting territory, but are very territorial with their feeding areas.

Great Blue Heron


I found a statement in a book entitled, Birding: The bestselling guide to the birds of North America, that I found humorous. “ If disturbed, the Great Blue takes off heavily and flies away with slow deep wing beats, often giving a deep, throaty call as it goes.” I find this funny because it is so true. I believe they hear me, even before I am aware of their presence. I always feel like they’re irritated that I disturbed them.

If you have never observed a Great Blue Heron in the Louisville area, you would be sure to see them at Falls of the Ohio during the summer. They love to fish in the shallow water on the fossil beds close to the dam.

CLICK THIS PICTURE!

16 comments:

Amila said...

Wow,the first photo is absolutely brilliant!

Modesto Viegas said...

Very good shot!

texwisgirl said...

beautiful photos of these graceful (and yes, grumpy) birds!

Bill S. said...

Great captures. They are beautiful unless you are a fisherman. But then they are still beautiful.

Springman said...

Sensational pictures. The first is a knock out. You could not hope for better detail. Your description of the Great Blue Heron is every bit as good as your pictures. It gives a real feel for your bird that can only be implied from photographs. A fantastic post that has everything!

fjÀllripan said...

I really like the first photo, stunning! What a beautiful bird this Heron is. Have a nice day!

mick said...

Beautiful bird and photos.

holdingmoments said...

That first picture Karen, is a beauty.
They are just like our Grey Heron here.

MaineBirder said...

Fantastic captures of the GBH Karen! I really like the second photo.

Jean said...

Yep...that first photo is outstanding! Thanks for the information about this interesting bird. I learned a few new facts.

Karen Bonsell said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments! I'm glad you enjoyed the post!! Stay tuned!!

Andrew said...

Stunning captures of a beautiful Heron.
Many thanks for sharing.

Sondra said...

That shot is terrific!!! A great post...thanks!

Bob Zeller said...

Great shot of one of my favorits herons, the Great Blue. Well done. :-)

Pat said...

Great post and that first shot is spectacular!

Mike B. said...

We have a large rookery by our house- they DO defend their nests a bit, but only to keep others at least slightly away. At least that's what I've seen.

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