Great Blue Herons are fairly commonly seen here in The Villages, Florida on our various ponds, freshwater marshes, and lakes.
These birds wade in the shallows to spear fish, frogs, small turtles, aquatic snails, larger aquatic insects and worms and the occasional duckling or even baby alligator for tasty meal. The Great Blue Herons most often hunt early in the morning and late in the afternoon until it is too dark for them to find prey.
The Great Blue Heron usually nests in sturdy tall trees but as seen in the picture here, sometimes the herons will create a nest in a swamp or marsh, where they are protected by alligators and the water itself. The photo of the nesting Great Blue Heron includes a fuzzy taupe-colored very small chick next to the parent’s bill. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
There are four Great Blue Herons now roosting at the park here. I have blogged about the herons in this park before, and thought I’d check in on how they are doing. I took these pictures of the herons on their rookery or nest, last night at 6:00 (park closes at 7:00). It is an uncrowded time at the park.
I saw the three herons up in and around the stick nest up on a sturdy branch of a Long-leaf Pine Tree. The parent bird came and gave some food to the noisy older juveniles and then had to leave. There was a lot of commotion and noise from the juveniles who were clamoring for more food. I was amazed to see the parent bird fly over quite close by to where I was at and calmly start to fish a bit in the decorative park pond (no Koi now – just mosquito fish and a few turtles). So all is well with this family of Great Blue Herons. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy! Have a safe and very happy holiday weekend!
These Great Blue Heron chicks were in two adjacent nests in a huge Pine Tree located in a privately operated park near my home here in Florida. The nests, called “rookeries”, were up about 30′ in the tree. The tree is close to a man-made Koi pond where there appears also to be some Red-eared Turtles, frogs and Mosquito Fish. The Koi fish are extra-large and certain sections of the pond are protected by bird wire.
The Great Blue Heron chicks in one nest were older and almost ready to fly. The two chicks in the second nest were much younger than the other trio. There was a brief period of utter chaos when one parent fed the three chicks! Heron legs, bills, necks, wings and bodies all were twisted in a comical manner. This feeding also was accompanied by a lot of squawking! The parent herons each flew off and left the chicks. I never saw the parents of the two smaller babies. Birds often leave the offspring while hunting. I took these pictures very early yesterday evening (4-14-13), just before it started to rain a bit. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!