Friday, April 15, 2011

Rarely Seen Great Blue Heron (GBH) Behavior

In the blog from April 9, called, “The Amazing Catch,” I mention
that I had seen four GBH’s drop down on the river while in flight to catch a fish on that one day.  The GBH pictured here was one of the other four.  Based on their physiology, I would have never thought they were capable of floating on the water or paddling like a waterfowl.  Notice how it is using it’s neck like a dinner plate to rest the fish upon.  When you consider that their feet have no webbing, you would think that they would have trouble swimming or getting airborne again.  Neither of these facts seems to be a problem, however.  Once they do come up out of the water, they will “run” along the surface until they gain enough speed to actually fly. 

One other thing that strikes me about these incidents is that they were catching catfish near the top of the water column.  Any fisherman will tell you catfish are caught at the bottom of the river.  Until I started filming the GBH’s, I never even suspected that they could be found so commonly near the surface.

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