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

Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias

Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias, one of my favorite birds to stalk and photograph! I did an earlier post of photos that you can find here.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the great blue herons;

“It is the largest North American heron and, among all extant herons, it is surpassed only by the Goliath Heron and the White-bellied Heron. It has head-to-tail length of 91–137 cm (36–54 in), a wingspan of 167–201 cm (66–79 in), a height of 115–138 cm (45–54 in), and a weight of 2.1–3.6 kg (4.6–7.9 lb). Notable features include slaty flight feathers, red-brown thighs, and a paired red-brown and black stripe up the flanks; the neck is rusty-gray, with black and white streaking down the front; the head is paler, with a nearly white face, and a pair of black plumes running from just above the eye to the back of the head. The feathers on the lower neck are long and plume-like; it also has plumes on the lower back at the start of the breeding season. The bill is dull yellowish, becoming orange briefly at the start of the breeding season, and the lower legs gray, also becoming orangey at the start of the breeding season. Immature birds are duller in color, with a dull blackish-gray crown, and the flank pattern only weakly defined; they have no plumes, and the bill is dull gray-yellow.

The primary food for Great Blue Heron is small fish, though it is also known to opportunistically feed on a wide range of shrimp, crabs, aquatic insects, rodents and other small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and small birds. Herons locate their food by sight and usually swallow it whole. Herons have been known to choke on prey that is too large. It is generally a solitary feeder. Individuals usually forage while standing in water, but will also feed in fields or drop from the air, or a perch, into water. Mice and other rodents are occasionally predated in upland areas far from the species typical aquatic environment.”

On to the photos;

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron in flight

Great Blue Heron in flight

Great Blue Heron in flight

Great Blue Heron in flight

Great Blue Heron in flight

Great Blue Heron in flight

Great Blue Heron in flight

Great Blue Heron in flight

This is number 22 in my photo life list, only 328 to go!

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

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16 responses

  1. This is one of my favorite birds too!

    February 7, 2013 at 5:10 am

    • Thank you, they are beautiful!

      February 7, 2013 at 10:41 am

  2. Northern Narratives

    Yes, they do swallow their food whole. It is amazing to watch them.

    February 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    • Thanks! Yes it is amazing to watch them, especially when they are swallowing large fish.

      February 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm

  3. plantsamazeme

    Looks like you are doing a great job on your list Jerry! I check your blog once a day and there is always something new.
    🙂

    February 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    • Thank you, I will run out of photos eventually. I still have a number of species already done and ready for posting, but I think that one a day is often enough.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm

  4. I like the shot of him eating-you don’t see that very often.

    February 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    • Thanks, the funny thing is, I almost didn’t shoot any photos that time. The heron wasn’t in the best position for a great shot, but I thought what the heck and started shooting. That’s the only photo I have of a heron flipping a fish in the air to position it correctly.

      It must be photographer’s karma or something. For some reason I can’t even explain, today I decided to shoot a couple of photos of a young fox squirrel that I see nearly everyday, even though it was quite far away compared to how I normally shoot them. The squirrel was half dozing in the sun, suddenly snapped to attention, and took off to hide. An eagle was on its way past, since I had the camera out and ready, eagle photos! To be posted soon. But, if I hadn’t been watching the squirrel, I probably would have missed the eagle.

      February 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm

  5. These are one of those birds that I always have trouble not stopping for and trying to snap a few photos of, even when I am running late. Something about that long neck and those awkward/graceful legs.

    When I’m out kayaking I consider these guys to be the grumpy old men on the water. If the fishing is good, they don’t mind a person too much, but if they aren’t having the best luck finding fish… I will paddle so far out of my way to give them a huge clear berth so as not to disturb them, but if they aren’t being successful in the hunt they will grumpily take off and squawk about it in that deep croak of theirs, complaining about it all the way, even though I paddled in a huge loop hundreds upon hundreds of feet away from them. They just like an excuse to be grumpy.

    Some fun images

    February 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

    • Thanks, they do have personality, even if it’s not always cheerful. And, it just hit me, the differences not only in size, but in personalities between birds such as chickadees, that never seem to have a care in the world, and herons, which are on the grumpy side.

      February 9, 2013 at 10:14 am

  6. Pingback: Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus « Quiet Solo Pursuits

  7. Love the 8th & 11th pictures. My totem bird, how I love them.

    February 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm

  8. One of my favorites! Great action shots, Jerry!

    February 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    • Thanks, but I still say that the ones around here aren’t as colorful as yours.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:04 am

  9. Zac Peetsma

    You’ve got some great shots here!

    February 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    • Thanks Zac!

      February 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm