September 2015 Bird of the Month

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron - HBIf you live in North America and are anywhere near water, chances are you’ve shared space with the Great Blue Heron … a great BIG bird!

How tall are you?  A Great Blue Heron can stand at more than 4 feet tall!  What’s your “wingspan” … the measurement of your outstretched arms, tip to tip?  A Great Blue Heron’s wingspan is about 72 inches!

Herons are wading birds, which means you can find them in waters such as marshes and ponds and other shallow bodies of water, where they use their long legs to walk through the waters while looking for food.

(Click on any of the images for a larger view.)

Great Blue Heron in Low Flight 1In this photo, you can see the long legs and wings of the Great Blue Heron as it flies low over the water.

 

 

 

 

3-Great Blue Heron with FishGreat Blue Herons eat fish that they grab while wading.  (They will also eat other aquatic prey such as amphibians.)  After grabbing the fish, the Great Blue Heron will maneuver its catch so it can swallow the food whole.  You may be amazed at the size of a fish that can go down the heron’s long, thin neck!

 

 

Great Find the GBH NestBlue Herons often nest high up in trees (though you may find a nest lower to the ground or on human-made structures). The male chooses the nest site and starts building to attract a mate. You may find a whole colony (large group) of Great Blue Heron nests in one location.

The nest in this photo is a single nest at Sapsucker Pond, home of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York.  Can you find the nest?

 

 

GBH Nest Is HereYes!  Here is is the nest, in a snag tree, in the middle of Sapsucker Pond. (A snag tree is a standing dead or dying tree. A snag tree makes a perfect nesting spot.)

 

 

Below is a close up of the same nest.

 

 

 

GBH Nest Close Up with CamerasDo you see the cameras?  These cameras (“nest cams”) give viewers a real-time look into the lives of birds and their nests.  The nest tree at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology had two cameras…and thousands of online viewers.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, in 2014,  viewers watched live as the nest came apart and fell into the water below.  Fortunately, it happened before nesting season began in earnest, so there were no eggs to be damaged. Herons can build a nest, even one as big as this, relatively quickly, so there was still time for the male heron of this nest to find another location to build.

NOTE: To learn about more about  a variety of nest cams, as well as much more about birds, you can visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “All About Birds” website:

All About Birds

PATIEGreat Blue Heron ReflectingNCE

When I observe the Great Blue Heron, I think of patience. This bird does not scamper around, frantically foraging for food. In fact, it may stand very still for long periods of time, waiting until the right moment  to strike out and grab a meal.

For this reason, the Great Blue Heron is a good bird to observe…if you are patient too!

 

 

 

If you would like to earn more about the Great Blue Heron, in particular, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s page about this big, beautiful bird:

All About Birds – Great Blue Heron

Just for Fun:  Can you find the Great Blue Heron in the banner at the top of this page?

All photographs on this website are copyright © Sunny Blue Productions, LLC.

This entry was posted in Bird of the Month. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to September 2015 Bird of the Month

  1. Sue Leach says:

    Love your new site. Gorgeous pictures of the majestic GBH! Excited to see what’s next!

  2. Rebecca Moser says:

    Love this site. Looking forward to reading about next month’s bird.

  3. Deb says:

    Thank you! Stay tuned! 🙂

  4. Deb says:

    Thank you! I am excited to share!

  5. Preston blane says:

    I love your bird blogs and pictures. Thank you!

  6. Rodney Reineer says:

    Love the site. The pictures and details are wonderful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *