Amusing Monday: Herons live in a variety of climatesAugust 27th, 2012 by cdunagan
Great blue herons, which we commonly see along Washington’s shorelines, belong to a family of birds containing 64 recognized species — though some are known as “egrets” or “bitterns.”
This family, Ardeidae, can be found on all continents except Antarctica, according to an entry in Wikipedia. They survive in the cold Arctic, dry deserts and even high mountains. Generally, they are found in the margins of wetlands, lakes, streams and saltwater estuaries.
The first embedded video on this page features some special moments this year at the nest of a family of great blue herons living in Sapsucker Woods Pond near Ithaca, New York. Two cameras, installed and maintained by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, captured the action.
For more about the installation, watch this video featuring Charles Eldermire, who leads Cornell’s BirdCams Project.
To learn more about great blue herons, visit a web page of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, which includes some videos from Washington state.
The great blue heron may be interesting, as it stands motionless waiting for a fish to pass by. But more amusing is the grey heron, which has been known to fish with bait. Check out the second embedded video on this page.
For another video of a heron fishing with bread, check out this YouTube video, complete with narration. “Oh, what a clever bird!”
Other fishing methods include the “canopy technique,” in which the black heron appears as an inanimate rock while searching for prey.
Herons seem to swallow their food whole, even when it comes in big packages. Here’s a video of a black-crowned night heron eating a rather large Pacific mackerel.
Less appealing are videos of herons hunting and eating rats. It’s great to know that somebody is taking care of the abundant rodents, but these videos are not for those uncomfortable at the sight of a struggling rat.