My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Green Heron, Butorides virescens

Green Heron, Butorides virescens, as their name suggests, are a member of the heron family, and are wading birds that hunt for fish, insects, and other food in or near bodies of water.

They can be very shy, and they love to stay hidden if they can. This can make it a challenge to get a good clear shot of one, at least for me anyway. I spent hours this last summer chasing an entire family of them around, often crawling on my hands and knees in attempts to sneak up on the wary little buggers.

I've spotted my "prey"

I’ve spotted my “prey”

My prey has spotted me!

My prey has spotted me!

Drats, foiled again!

It could be that they are smarter than I am, for science rates them as one of the most intelligent species of birds. The Green Heron is one of the few tool-using birds. It commonly drops bait onto the surface of the water and grabs the small fish that are attracted. It uses a variety of baits and lures, including crusts of bread, insects, earthworms, twigs, or feathers.

Unlike their larger cousins, great blue herons, green herons usually hold their long neck pulled in tight to body, then when prey is spotted within range, they strike much like a snake, with explosive dart of head and neck.

They are about the same size as crows, and may be even smarter.

On to the photos.

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron landing

Green Heron landing

Green Heron in flight

Green Heron in flight

Green Heron shaking off the rain

Green Heron shaking off the rain

Green Heron landing

Green Heron landing

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

This is number 20 in my photo life list, only 330 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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11 responses

  1. LOVE! Thanks for sharing!

    February 5, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    • Thanks Sheila!

      February 6, 2013 at 1:33 am

  2. I’d feel lucky if I just got to see this bird. I know where one hunts but, as you say, sneaking up on him is almost impossible. I’ve seen him several times-flying away!

    February 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    • I got my best shot, the last one, while kayaking. The heron let me drift right up to it and shoot away, it shocked me so bad that only a few of the photos turned out. I found that the best tactic was to spot them at a distance, see which direction they were hunting in, then get ahead of them and lay in wait while hiding.

      February 6, 2013 at 1:48 am

  3. I can just see you stalking through the tall grass near the water. I’m sure the heron hears you a mile coming. 🙂

    February 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    • Well, there’s a reason my blog is called Quiet Solo Pursuits, if I can creep up on sleeping whitetail deer, and I can, then herons are a piece of cake as far as noise. I need to learn how to become invisible, deer are nearly blind, which makes it easy to sneak up on them, the herons have eyes like eagles.

      February 6, 2013 at 1:53 am

  4. I love when I sight one of these and have the opportunity to photograph them. Great shots for such a flighty bird!

    February 6, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    • Thanks, they can be tough to sneak up on, that’s for sure.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:19 am

  5. One of my favorite herons. Well captured

    February 9, 2013 at 8:50 am

    • Thanks Galen!

      February 9, 2013 at 10:12 am

  6. You got some great photos of them – they’re tricky, I think. I like your kayak getting ahead technique – gotta outsmart them.

    February 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm