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 were two Great Blue Herons visible when I visited this privately maintained park in Marion County, Florida, on December 22, 2013. Each of these Great Blue Herons was hanging out in a different tree where the herons had built a stick nest for their rookery.
I think that these birds are ones I had photographed a couple of times earlier in the year there at this botanical park. The big pine trees are showing broken limbs from Summer thunderstorms, so It is no wonder that some of the herons are making new nests within the park! The nest shown in today’s post is likely one of the new ones.
I have been casually visiting this park and watching the herons since last March (2013) and have enjoyed watching these wading birds grow from gangly juveniles to nearly grown adults. Please click on the thumbnail images to see the larger picture.
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!