Archive for October 3rd, 2011


One of the pleasures of living beside our little river is that we are often treated to the sight of a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) as it hunts for a meal. I never tire of seeing these majestic birds, which can be 1.3 m (over four feet) tall. They are shy birds. If you are just driving by in your car, they stand very still and keep an eye on you as you pass by. But if you should stop and roll down a window, never mind climb out of the car, they rise silently on their great wings and quickly disappear up the river.

Great Blue Herons feed on small fish, amphibians, rodents, aquatic insects, crayfish and snails such as are found in shallow ponds, streams and wetlands. It is thought that their numbers have been slowly declining over the past 20 years and the reasons for this are not well understood. However, it may be that the heron decline is linked to that of one of their favorite foods. The numbers of many amphibians such as frogs have also been falling across the Great Lakes region.

I spotted this heron as I was walking along the road that borders the river. There is a dense hedgerow, and I had to watch for a spot that was clear enough to take a photograph through. The heron was watching me suspiciously. Once I found a little clearing, I only had a few seconds to take the picture before the bird took flight and quickly disappeared from sight.

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