Ardea herodias

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Ardea herodias — Great Blue Heron, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

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Ardea herodias — Great Blue Heron, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

25 Comments

I love these birds: they give new meaning to the term “you got a frog in your throat”

Stanton,

I think it’s a pair of “before and after” photos. Too bad there wasn’t one showing the fish as a bulge sliding down the heron’s throat.

I have read that, in California, herons have been feeding on chipmunks and other, larger, rodents. I found that impossible to believe, but seeing how wide a gape this heron’s jaws have, I am inclined to believe it.

Best,

John

John Kwok said:

Stanton,

I think it’s a pair of “before and after” photos. Too bad there wasn’t one showing the fish as a bulge sliding down the heron’s throat.

I have read that, in California, herons have been feeding on chipmunks and other, larger, rodents. I found that impossible to believe, but seeing how wide a gape this heron’s jaws have, I am inclined to believe it.

Best,

John

I’m aware of that: a friend of mine at the marina has been concerned that the herons there have been giving her cat the hungry look.

Plus, I don’t doubt that herons would feed on chipmunks: I’ve seen a pelican eat a pigeon, after all.

John Kwok said:

I think it’s a pair of “before and after” photos. Too bad there wasn’t one showing the fish as a bulge sliding down the heron’s throat.

I think I have that picture, and a bunch where it has the fish speared on the end of its beak.

Reed A. Cartwright said:

John Kwok said:

I think it’s a pair of “before and after” photos. Too bad there wasn’t one showing the fish as a bulge sliding down the heron’s throat.

I think I have that picture, and a bunch where it has the fish speared on the end of its beak.

Fishkabob?

I once had the pleasure of watching a GBH snare a small catfish (maybe 8-10 inches long)from across a small inlet. My first thought was “this’ll be interesting”, since catfish have nasty spines at the front of their fins that flair out by moving either up or outward and thus would prevent swallowing fin first. No problem, as the bird tossed and maneuvered the fish until it was finally, after some minutes, head first down the hatch, neatly solving the barb-out problem. Subsequent observations indicate that all fish are swallowed in this way. Would chipmunks also go down head first???

Where did you see a pelican devour a pigeon? I’ve seen two videos over at YouTube; one of a pelican going beserk, seizing a pigeon and swallowing it in London; the other in Budapest.

Stanton said:

John Kwok said:

Stanton,

I think it’s a pair of “before and after” photos. Too bad there wasn’t one showing the fish as a bulge sliding down the heron’s throat.

I have read that, in California, herons have been feeding on chipmunks and other, larger, rodents. I found that impossible to believe, but seeing how wide a gape this heron’s jaws have, I am inclined to believe it.

Best,

John

I’m aware of that: a friend of mine at the marina has been concerned that the herons there have been giving her cat the hungry look.

Plus, I don’t doubt that herons would feed on chipmunks: I’ve seen a pelican eat a pigeon, after all.

I’ve seen a photo sequence of a heron eating a rabbit. Cats aren’t much further down the list!

That’s not as cool as cow eating a rabbit: Hungry the Cow.

John Kwok said:

Where did you see a pelican devour a pigeon? I’ve seen two videos over at YouTube; one of a pelican going beserk, seizing a pigeon and swallowing it in London; the other in Budapest.

Somewhere in the depths of Youtube: it seemed rather nonchalant about doing it, too.

Reed A. Cartwright said:

That’s not as cool as cow eating a rabbit: Hungry the Cow.

That’s even cooler than the chick-eating calf in India!

My son likes to feed the catfish at Duke Gardens. On one occasion, a heron (perhaps the same one?) settled down about three feet in front of us, paused, and then speared a fish as it came up for a piece of hotdog bun. The nonchalance with which he did it make me think that he frequently fishes in front of small children throwing bread.

That reminds me of a number of ways wild birds can make a living from incidental human activity that I have seen: robins going over freshly tilled gardens, cliff swallows swarming behind big mowers, and an egret roaming the stage during a performance at Orlando’s Seaworld.

…an egret roaming the stage during a performance at Orlando’s Seaworld.

I saw the same thing at San Diego Seaworld during the orca show. The handlers were clearly trying to extinguish the egret’s behavior, but rather unsuccessfully. He ate well!

So, they put out a selection of free food for the bird, then try to shoo it away? Uh, yeah, that’ll work! :D

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with herons. While they are beautiful and graceful to watch, and it is very impressive to see one land in the 10’ x 12’ fishpond in the middle of my small suburban back yard, they are not welcome to eat my koi.

Frank B said: … and an egret roaming the stage during a performance at Orlando’s Seaworld.

When I was there snowy and cattle egrets plus wood storks infested the place. Got some great closeup shots of them, they’d almost get within arm’s reach. Not that I’d try to grab onto one, getting a nice sharp beak speared in my eye isn’t my idea of entertainment – but one of the staff told me that every now and then a visitor gets rough with the birds. Didn’t tell me if the birds did anything back to them, though.

That was almost certainly the Blue Horizons show, right? Quite impressive, a Vegas-style act in an aquapark, I got an ace set of shots:

http://www.vectorsite.net/gfxpxg_02.html

I liked the neat little JEWELS OF THE SEA aquarium. I went back (multiday pass) and forgot where it was, asked a staffer where I could find the tanks of comb jellies and the like. He was amused, saying nobody ever had asked him about it before. Obviously not the big draw there.

MrG http://www.vectorsite.net

During that same trip to Orlando, I saw Egrets, Ibises, and Seagulls all over the Disney parks. A flock of gulls had a mugging station set up in Epcot, near a McDonalds Fries stand. Someone carrying fries across an open space near the stand would have his/her head swooped at. About eight gulls were there instantly to grab the dropped fries and run. An attendant was there to try to prevent mooching or stealing, but to little avail.

Frank B said:

During that same trip to Orlando, I saw Egrets, Ibises, and Seagulls all over the Disney parks.

If you looked at the photos, the NEXT pages are Disney. I took them then and in a follow-up trip I took to Florida about six months later to pick up things I missed.

First time around at EPCOT I did MISSION: SPACE and got sick as a dog, blew away a day. The ride was interesting – “Hey, my hands feel like sometime tied bricks onto them!” – but NEVER again!

The second time around I caught the Cirque du Soleil LA NOUBA performance at Downtown Disney – I’d seen CdS in Vegas before, definitely worth the price of admission. I’m going to Vegas in November for the AVIATION NATION airshow at Nellis AFB and I’ll catch one of the CdS shows; this time I’ll get the first-class seat, worth the steep price, not something one does often.

I did MISSION: SPACE and got sick as a dog, blew away a day.

A little kid died on the Mission Mars ride, and having ridden it twice, I can see why. I agree, Never Again. I think the booth must spins to generate the g force necessary. I felt queasy for hours afterward.

Frank B said:

I think the booth must spins to generate the g force necessary. I felt queasy for hours afterward.

Yeah, the “aggressive” version of the ride is a centrifuge. I took the “tame” version the second time I visited and asked a staffer when I got out how many gees the “aggressive” version pulled – it goes up to almost three gees, I was told. I have minor inner ear problems to begin with, I was just asking for trouble the first time.

Well, to keep this on topic, let’s put the blue heron in the aggressive ride and see if it feels like eating fish afterwards:D

Remember the cartoon of the great heron being stopped from eating a frog by the frog strangling it while in the herons beak? “Never give up!”

Well I came across an animated version …

http://marshbunny.com/mbunny/wildli[…]2/index.html

Frank B said:

Well, to keep this on topic, let’s put the blue heron in the aggressive ride and see if it feels like eating fish afterwards:D

Oh Bob, remembering how I felt (nausea in waves) even mentioning fish makes me turn green.

Regarding the heron feeding on fish attracted by hamburger bun, I’ve just returned from a holiday in the Dominican Republic. Through the resort was a series of ponds connected by streams that were well-stocked with fish that guests fed with buns. Apart from the great egrets and black-crowned night-herons there were plenty of green herons. Several of these had learned to fish by dropping a piece of bun in the water just within reach and waiting for a fish to be attracted. If a fish did not come they would pick up the bread and drop it in a different place. They were quite vociferous towards the ducks that stole their bait, but backed off quickly when it was taken by an egret. Interestingly, the egrets ate some bread but never used it as bait, while the green herons only rarely ate the bread.

At night, fruit bats were also attracted by bread, swooping down and apparently picking it up off the water.

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on March 30, 2009 12:00 PM.

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