Wednesday, July 15, 2020

THE GREAT BLUE HERON

More old photos, this time of a graceful Great Blue Heron taken on vacation in Florida in 2008. This wading bird is the largest North American Heron, with a head-to-tail length of 36-55 inches (91-140 cm), a wingspan of 66-79 inches (167-201 cm), and a weight of 4.4-8 lbs. (2-3.6 kg).

A few more facts about them:

Despite their size they only weigh about five to six pounds, thanks to their hollow bones.

They typically lay between two to six eggs.  Great Blue Herons at higher latitudes and in freshwater habitats tend to have more eggs per clutch on average.  

Both parents take turns incubating the eggs for 4 weeks.

The young can first fly at about 60 days.

While some nests are built on the ground near a water's edge, great blue herons mostly nest in colonies in trees near water.  These colonies are called "heronries".  These nests can be 100 or more feet off the ground and can range from 50 to 500 nests per colony.

Great Blue Herons have specialized feathers on their chest that continually grow and fray.  The herons comb this "powder down" with a fringed claw on their middle toes, using the down like a washcloth to remove fish slime and other oils from their feathers as they preen.  Applying the powder to their underparts protects their feathers against the slime and oils of the swamps.

In Native American lore the Heron embodies wisdom and patience.  Supremely capable at fishing and hunting, the Iroquois felt that the sight of one before a hunt was a very good omen for success.

I hope you found this interesting, and thanks for looking.  Enjoy your day.




36 comments:

  1. Your pictures are awesome and professional. You got such beautiful detail on the feathers, really stunning.

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    1. Thank you Ginny, that is such a nice compliment :) The heron helped a lot, his pose was something I hadn't been able to capture before.

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  2. They are a very, very beautiful bird aren't they? Thank you for sharing these stunning photos and information.

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    1. They certainly are and you are very welcome. So glad you enjoyed :)

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  3. Yes Denise I did find it interesting and lovely images to go with it.

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  4. Interesting to read about the bird, it's a nice looking creature.
    Stay safe.

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    1. Thank you Margaret, I have always liked these birds. You stay safe also :)

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  5. I have not seen one in a long time because I haven't been anywhere to see one but they are quite common here and this is a beautiful picture of a really beautiful heron

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    1. I haven't been out to see any and I miss that. Thanks Sandra, I would love to be able to see them all the time.

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  6. Hello Denise - your heron is a splendid chappy! I liked reading about preening their powder!
    Wren x

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    1. Hi Wren, thank you and happy you enjoyed :) x

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  7. Gorgeous pictures! You are an excellent photographer, Denise.

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  8. a lovely bird which does not live in my place

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    1. Thank you Gosia, I would be interested in seeing the birds that do :)

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  9. Hi Denise,
    Super series of images of the Great Blue Heron, a real monster of a bird and they will devour anything.
    You both stay safe,
    John

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    1. Hi John, thank you. They are amazing to watch fishing. You both stay safe also :)

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  10. Very interesting, especially on those hollow bones!

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  11. These are wonderful pictures, and such interesting facts. I always find it fascinating to watch them perch in a tree...they just don't look like they should be able to. LOL

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    1. They are great to watch aren't they? I agree, they look too big to sit in trees :)

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  12. Such a great bird. Love these photos.

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  13. They're formidable birds. I haven't seen any this year, though I haven't really been looking either.

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    1. Thank you William :) It will be quite a while before I see another I’m thinking.

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