Bird of the Week (3/162014): Great Blue Heron

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Brian J Brian J 7 months ago.

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  • #5116657 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    Great Blue Herons aren’t a bird that everyone sees in their backyard, but most of us have seen them around when we visit lakes, rivers, or even the ocean. This is a bird that never fails to get everyone’s attention, and since they have the great habit of standing very still for long periods of time, almost anyone can get pretty good photos of them!

    The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is found in much of the U.S. and Canada at some point in the year (range map here), but generally only around bodies of water. Even a small backyard pond can be enough to draw these birds in, if the pond has fish or frogs or other small animals for the birds to prey on.

    Great Blue Heron (right), with Great Egret (left) and Snowy Egret (middle):

    It’s the largest heron in North America, standing nearly five feet tall with a wingspan of six and half feet. Those found further south are generally larger than those in the north. An all-white subspecies is found only in Southern Florida and the Caribbean, sometimes called the Great White Heron though it is not a separate species. Though it resembles the Great Egret in color and size, there are distinct differences. (Learn more here.) I took the (somewhat terrible) photo below of the white morph Great Blue Heron in the Florida Keys.

    Great Blue Herons often nest in the tops of trees, which seems funny for such large birds. These trees will always be over or near bodies of water where they can find food for their young. In some areas, these birds nest on the ground or on artificial structures like channel markers. They lay up to six eggs which can take up to a month to hatch, and it can take nestlings over two months before they’re ready to leave the nest.

    A nest in Florida, in the tree on the left:

    Nest building:

    Do you love watching Great Blue Herons when they fish for a snack? Where do you see them? Share your stories and photos here all week long!


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5116673 Report Abuse
    CatsBirds
    CatsBirds
    Participant

    I love the herons… we have them here on the lake most of the year…they stay from early spring to lake fall.

     



    Sharon, Catsbirds, Community Team Member
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    #5116676 Report Abuse
    CatsBirds
    CatsBirds
    Participant



    Sharon, Catsbirds, Community Team Member
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    #5116708 Report Abuse
    theLark_IN_5
    theLark_IN_5
    Participant

    I was just lucky to see this bird fly pass my window and land in my neighbor’s tree.

     



     photo larkiegif.gif

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by theLark_IN_5 theLark_IN_5.
    #5116830 Report Abuse
    SandraRW
    SandraRW
    Participant



    #5116835 Report Abuse
    SandraRW
    SandraRW
    Participant

    This one and the one above were taken at Lake Mattamuskette in North Carolina. A great place to take photos in the winter of all the bird migrations



    #5116944 Report Abuse
    Stelios
    Stelios
    Participant

    Culturcottages


    Stella
    Community Team Member

    #5117940 Report Abuse
    Magnolia15
    Magnolia15
    Participant

    It cracks me up seeing herons perched in trees, just doesn’t seem right to me.



    -birdsofthebog.com

    #5117972 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    Magnolia – I feel that way every time I see a heron in a tree, or an egret for that matter. They only weigh about 5 pounds, but it still just looks silly. Check out this shot I took of an anhinga in a small cypress tree out back, with a great blue heron standing there checking him out. In my head, the heron is saying, “Is that what I look like when I land in a tree? How embarassing!”

    Everyone’s photos are beautiful! Thanks for sharing – let’s hope we get a lot more before this week!


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5117978 Report Abuse
    theLark_IN_5
    theLark_IN_5
    Participant

    I can relate. The blue sky helps the mind to accept seeing it in the tree top.


     photo larkiegif.gif

    #5117995 Report Abuse
    Magnolia15
    Magnolia15
    Participant

    That’s funny, and no Mr. Heron, you look even more ridiculous than that!


    -birdsofthebog.com

    #5118017 Report Abuse
    mmarnee
    mmarnee
    Participant

    A couple times a year a Great Blue Heron will visit my neighbor’s roof top.  I think someone in the neighborhood has a fish pond that draws these birds.

     


    #5118083 Report Abuse
    Junior Barnes
    Junior Barnes
    Participant

    A few years back I was sitting at a picnic table at the lake hoping to see the resident eagle when this GB heron flew up and landed about 15 feet from me. It let me walk closer and closer to photograph it, and upon reviewing the photos, I was pleased to see the below result. 



    www.birdsofohio.webnode.com

    #5120046 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    These are all such great photos, folks! Anyone else have a few to share before the week is up?


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5120052 Report Abuse
    Brian J
    Brian J
    Participant

    I have one Jill, Near the house where I have been working (Wyoming) I found a rookery that has over 50 nests in a large group of trees overlooking a river full of trout. Pretty amazing to watch them fly in and out of the trees.



    Have a wonderful day and feel free to check out more of my photography here,
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/53805123@N05/

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