Great Blue Heron on the hunt

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Great Blue Heron (Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae: Ardea herodias) photographed 07/13/2014 at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark near Swanton, Ohio.

Throughout the summer Great Blue Herons (Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae: Ardea herodias) can often be seen in and around a variety of North American waters. These large birds spend a lot of time in both saltwater and freshwater environments, wading and patiently waiting for prey. Once a fish, frog, or other small animal wanders too close, these herons can strike with lightning reflexes and grab it with their long bills.

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Great Blue Heron (Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae: Ardea herodias) photographed 07/13/2014 at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark near Swanton, Ohio.

Last week I came across this individual on the edge of a large pond at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark near Swanton, Ohio. At first it seemed odd to me that it would be hunting in a section that was completely covered in duckweed. I thought the duckweed must have made it impossible for it to see prey. On the other hand, however, the duckweed probably made the heron invisible to animals in the water. I suspect that when the prey animals moved near the surface, they must have disturbed the duckweed enough to draw the heron’s attention. At one point I almost got to witness the heron strike. Something seemed to catch its eye and it began to move…

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Great Blue Heron (Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae: Ardea herodias) photographed 07/13/2014 at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark near Swanton, Ohio.

…but then a moment later it stopped and went back to standing motionless. Must have been a false alarm.

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Great Blue Heron (Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae: Ardea herodias) photographed 07/13/2014 at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark near Swanton, Ohio.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Organism Interactions, Vertebrate Zoology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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