Monday, December 8, 2014

What do Great Blue Herons Eat?

You would think they are too big to be interested in bugs, but they do eat them from time to time.

They are surprisingly artful at capturing blue crabs. The first thing they do is remove their pincers although I have seen crabs hanging by their pincers off their bills.

I have seen a Great Blue Heron (GBH) catch a sea lamprey on two different occasions. You can see the suction mouth on this photo.

The GBH seems proud of having caught this fish. Most of the time they eat it in place, but if they are being harassed by another bird or they feel like the prey may escape, they will move to a safer location to eat it.

They will sometimes spear fish through and through like this one did with a white perch.

This GBH caught the catfish by diving for it while flying over the water. I thought it was interesting the way it used it's neck as a place to rest the fish.

This is one of my favorite images of a GBH with it's prey. Who would have thought they could capture such a large fish? Out in open water besides. I was totally astounded.

What amazed me just as much was how it managed to swallowed the whole fish and didn't kill itself in the process.

It is almost a compulsion for a GBH to take a sip of water after eating a fish. If they are on a dock, I am always ready to film them taking a long, tall, cool one.

If the opportunity presents itself, they will also eat small mammals. Like the Kingfisher, they cannot process the entire meal, so they have to hock the fur back up. There is also a small fish with a large eye over on the right.

They will eat snakes as well. I have a picture of one, but I couldn't locate it. Lizards and frogs are also fair game.

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