Sunday, July 18, 2010

Great Blue Heron up Close

Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

(click image to enlarge)

Did you know:

The tall, long-legged great blue heron is the most common and largest of North American herons.

Great blue herons are waders, typically seen along coastlines, in marshes, or near the shores of ponds or streams. They are expert fishers. Herons snare their aquatic prey by walking slowly, or standing still for long periods of time and waiting for fish to come within range of their long necks and blade-like bills. The deathblow is delivered with a quick thrust of the sharp bill, and the prey is swallowed whole. Great blue herons have been known to choke to death by attempting to swallow fish too large for their long, S-shaped necks. Though they are best known as fishers, mice constitute a large part of their diet, and they also eat insects and other small creatures.

Great blue herons' size (3.2 to 4.5 feet/1 to 1.4 meters) and wide wingspan (5.5 to 6.6 feet/1.7 to 2 meters) make them a joy to see in flight. They can cruise at some 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) an hour.

Though great blue herons hunt alone, they typically nest in colonies. They prefer tall trees, but sometimes nest in low shrubs. Females produce two to seven eggs, which both parents protect and incubate. Chicks can survive on their own by about two months of age.

The all-white color morph found in the Caribbean and southern Florida is often called the great white heron, but it is in fact the same species.

Did you know research from National Geographic. Photographed by Craig Glenn at Cranes Roost Park in Uptown Altamonte.


KaHolly said...

Fabulous shot and great info! ~karen

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Beautiful Craig. Your close-up work is excellent.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Craig: I love that bird, it is our most common big bird.
I love your header, great butterfly shot.

Debbie Miller @HooootOwl said...

Lovely capture ... very informative post.

Elaine said...

Very nice!

Shelley said...

Wonderful, sharp capture of the Heron!

Charles Roring said...

I like the post. I like bird watching too especially about New Guinea birds. I have just written a post about birding in Aiwatar hill. I still do not know the name of the species shown on the first photograph of my article below:

Bird watching in Aiwatar hill of Tambrauw Mountains

Victoria said...

I wanted to share this video I made of the great blue heron for all to enjoy!!

- Victoria