The reason I am so drawn to the Gulf Coast, is the abundance of birds espeically the long legged waders. The most recognized and largest is the Great Blue Heron. An adult can stand 4 feet tall with a wing span of up to 6 feet. Herons locate their food by sight and usually swallow it whole. They have been known to choke on prey that is too large. The next largest is the Tricolored Heron, formerly known as the Louisiana Heron measuring in at 3 feet high with a 38 inch wingspan. I saw one tri-colored in the Everglades, fly out over the stream and dip its toes in and out of the water, then fly back to its roost to see if he attracted a fish. Then there is the Little Blue Heron at 2 feet tall. As the name suggests, as an adult it is blue, but as a juvenile it is white, as a beginner birder this was quite confusing. Little Blues tend to walk around the water looking for it’s meal. One of the most colorful is the Green Heron only 17 inches tall – one of my favorites is very chatty. I usually hear it before I see it. An interesting fact about the Green Heron, is that it can use actual bait to lure in fish to where he is hunting.
There are also 2 nocturnal feeders: the Yellow Crowned Night Heron and the Black Crowned Night Herons.
Here are a couple of my favorite shots of Herons with their feathers ruffled.
Stay tuned for my next post on Egrets & Ibises…