Great blue herons enjoy a catch of the day
No hook, line or sinker for this tremendous fishing bird.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 15:30
At four feet tall and with a wingspan of up to six feet, there is something quite majestic about a great blue heron. They spend the majority of time in wetlands stalking fish and small reptiles with that intimidating scissor-like beak. The great blue heron is a master fisherman, or fisherbird as the case may be, and watching one set its sights on the catch of the day is one of nature's highly entertaining sideshows. (Except of course, if his sights are set on your backyard pond and the family goldfish!)
The great blue's tall, elegant body perches on spindly yellow legs standing erect and perfectly still. Its long, thin neck stretches out, fully extended, while vivid yellow eyes scan the water for unsuspecting treats. Sometimes seconds, sometimes minutes pass while he waits motionless, until suddenly the body and neck rapidly recoil and the head, lead by that magnificent pointed beak, crashes into the water. As quickly as it breaks the surface it pulls back out and most times there is a small fish either twitching in that great mouth, or impaled on that spear-like beak. Either method, the great blue heron is a master of fishing technique and sometimes, if you are lucky, and patient, you get to witness these mad fishing skills first hand.
Then again, sometimes, no matter how long you weather the storm, it's just not the right moment ...
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