Ardea herodias

Great blue heron
Ardea herodias, great blue heron. It is always exciting to see a great blue heron, and we have posted heron pictures no less than four times before. Usually, in Walden Ponds, Boulder, Colorado, we see a heron or two, once in a while three. This year, people have reported counting between 24 and 30 at one time. This picture shows six or eight herons (I am not sure of one or two), and there were more on a sand bar behind these birds and yet more off to the right – probably 15 or so, but who is counting? No one seems to know precisely why there are so many herons this year. They are not herd animals (they are birds, so I suppose we would say they do not flock), and these seem to be pretty much ignoring each other. Why so many this year? Does anyone know? Are people seeing the same phenomenon elsewhere? Yes, I performed a Web search and came up with nothing.

Heron pictures in the Panda’s Thumb archive: photographs by Reed Cartwright, Matt Young, Matt Young, and Tom Gillespie (photography contest, honorable mention).