GREAT BLUE HERON

DESCRIPTION

Water and land are both necessary for this bird. Either salt or fresh water can serve as its fishing grounds, but the birds need islands or woody swamps nearby so they have a place to build their nests.


The birds build one-metre-wide nests out of dry sticks, sometimes lining the bottom with pine needles or moss.


Herons choose a new mate each year. The female lays about three to five eggs, which she sits on at night. The male sits on them during the day. Once the chicks hatch, the parents continue to share duties: mom watches the nest at night and dad takes the day shift.


By about eight weeks old, the young birds start to fly. At 10 weeks, they leave the nest – and their parents – for good.


Then they’re ready to start acting like adult herons. They stand perfectly still in the water until a tasty morsel passes by. Usually it’s a fish, but sometimes a heron will eat other water life, or even another bird.


When they see something — wham! The heron lunges with its body and neck. If it nabs the prey, the bird usually tries to swallow it in one gulp, sometimes choking in the process.


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