Tag Archives: Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron Stick Gathering

This Great Blue Heron opted to choose some nest building materials from the tree line where I was standing.

Great Blue Heron Flying Into Tree
Great Blue Heron Flying Into Tree

After a tricky landing he walked along a good sized branch while poking for loose material.

Great Blue Heron Selecting Stick
Great Blue Heron Selecting Stick

After discarding a few options he pulled an acceptable branch free and flew back to the nest.

Great Blue Heron Flying With Stick
Great Blue Heron Flying With Stick

Big Meal for GBH Chick

Great Blue Heron chicks have started to hatch around the rookery and Tuesday I spotted one in a high nest sticking his head up.

The first few days the adults will tear food apart and give it to their chicks. As the chicks grow, which happens pretty quickly, the adult dangles food in front of the chicks encouraging them to grab their own meal.

Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog
Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog

Either this chick couldn’t figure out how to get a bite of frog or wasn’t hungry, but after a minute or so the chick lost his chance.

Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog
Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog

It took a minute or so of concentrated effort, but the adult ate the frog in one bite.

Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog
Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog

Great Blue Heron Silhouette

We are at that time of year when there is a lot of Great Blue Heron activity in the swamp at the end of the day with last minute nest building, one mate returning to the nest after feeding, and new-comers looking for a spot. Unfortunately the sun has dipped below the tree line and there is very little light to capture the action.

Great Blue Heron Silhouette
Great Blue Heron Silhouette

So silhouettes are an interesting option. I particularly like this next one with the heron’s foot flexed.

Great Blue Heron Silhouette
Great Blue Heron Silhouette

This heron settled down, probably wondering where to spend the night. Not all of the singles are paired with a mate yet with a nest to return to.

Great Blue Heron Silhouette
Great Blue Heron Silhouette

One Stick at a Time

This Great Blue Heron was intent on gathering sticks for his nest and paid no attention to the humans on the nature trail.

Great Blue Heron Flying By
Great Blue Heron Flying By

He went back and forth from the nest to a nearby spot that had a huge variety of nest building materials to choose from.

Great Blue Heron Gathering Sticks
Great Blue Heron Gathering Sticks

Sometimes the heron’s selection was so small it hardly seemed worth the trip.

Great Blue Heron Flying By
Great Blue Heron Flying By

Great Blue Heron in the Skinny Tree

I’ve featured GBH antics in the “skinny tree” previous nesting years. These images were taken in late December, on a grey day, as a Great Blue was staking a claim to this coveted nesting spot. The tree is free standing in the pond, reducing the likelihood of predators arriving from below.

First order of business is to attract a mate.

Great Blue Heron Mating Call
Great Blue Heron Mating Call

None of the nesting material from last year survived and more of the tree has broken away. This adult and the selected mate will have a lot of work to make a viable nest.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

In the last image the heron is performing a downward stretching and beak snapping behavior. There were a few other GBH around the pond, some working on nests in trees on the small islands, but none seemed impressed by this show.

Great Blue Heron checking the next level
Great Blue Heron checking the next level

Great Blue Heron

I liked this foot up pose, even with that intruding dead limb across the bird’s neck. Over the last couple years this has been one of the favorite nesting trees for Great Blue Heron and Great Egrets so I expect I’ll be seeing a lot of that limb as breeding season unfolds.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Last year that limb had branches off it, that have either broken away or been pulled off for nest material and this would not have been a clear view. I think the remaining limb is too big for a Heron to break off and put in the nest but I won’t be surprised to see one try.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

GBH: Looking for Perfect Stick

A small number of Great Blue Herons are busy building nests around the swamp. This one landed on a small island to look for nest building material.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

He just couldn’t find the right stick, selecting and discarding all sizes as he traipsed between the Cypress knees.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

I finally gave up hoping to see him fly with a stick; he was still poking around when I moved on.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron