Do you know what comedian, Robin Williams says about springtime? “Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s Party!” And, what a fun party it is here in the Northeast. The flowers are blooming, the temps are warm and sunny, and the birds are renewing their vows to come back and visit. Just when I thought the party was under control, I was recently awoken at 5:15 am by my two dogs engaged in the throws of an early morning spring barking frenzy.
A Pond Story
The sun was beginning to rise and the dogs were at the glass doors that lead out to a deck next to the pond. They were making such a commotion (unusual for my generally mellow pooches). I got up to see what all the fuss was about, and standing elegantly on very long legs was a great blue heron with one of our colorful koi fish dangling from its beak. I opened the door and let the beasts out to scare it away. The heron stoically looked up and glided up into the air and perched on a tall tree. It held its ground while the guys went nuts, and then took off. I went out to check the damages and noticed a few fish missing (or maybe hiding in fear).
A few hours later, a large shadow came over the house and the dogs started yapping, “He’s back!” Descending from the sky over my woods and pond, were not one, not two, but three great blue herons. They swooped down and it was like chow time at Jurassic Park. This time I just watched the magnificent and massive creatures in awe. I noticed their quiet confidence and seemingly calm temperament, as they were ready to seize the opportunity to obliterate the aquatic life in my pond. If two ninety-pound barking dogs didn’t scare them the first time, I wasn’t really sure what would. After wading in the pond, the three otherworldly looking birds took off in flight with slow, steady wing beats.
I was left with a dilemma: I feel somewhat graced by having the beauty of the herons at my home, but I love my pond life and all of the joy it’s given my family. Is there anyway we could live in harmony? I quickly jumped into nature investigator role and started to research herons. I found some interesting facts from National Geographic and a few remarkable spiritual connections.
Next: 10 Fascinating Heron facts plus a cool video
10 Heron Facts
1. The blue heron is the most common and largest of North American herons.
2. Great blue herons are waders, typically seen along coastlines, in marshes, or near the shores of ponds or streams.
3. They are expert fishers. Herons snare their aquatic prey by walking slowly, or standing still for long periods of time and waiting for fish to come within range of their long necks and blade-like bills.
4. Great blue herons have been known to choke to death by attempting to swallow fish too large for their long, S-shaped necks. Though they are best known as fishers, mice constitute a large part of their diet, and they also eat insects and other small creatures.
5. Great blue herons’ size (3.2 to 4.5 feet/1 to 1.4 meters) and wide wingspan (5.5 to 6.6 feet/1.7 to 2 meters) make them a joy to see in flight.
6. They can cruise at some 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) an hour.
7. Though great blue herons hunt alone, they typically nest in colonies. They prefer tall trees, but sometimes nest in low shrubs.
8. Females produce two to seven eggs, which both parents protect and incubate.
9. Chicks can survive on their own by about two months of age.
10. The all-white color morph found in the Caribbean and southern Florida is often called the great white heron, but it is in fact the same species.
Native Americans believe that the great blue heron is nature’s representation of the ability to evolve and to find one’s own way. They are a reflection of the journey to self-realization and clarity of purpose. Their long delicate legs are likened to unusual pillars of strength. “The Great Blue Heron is a majestic bird who teaches us the wisdom of standing still, waiting patiently, while what we need comes to us.” Read more of this Care2 article.
Watch: The Great Blue Heron
Please share your heron stories. I would love to know what to do about my “scattering” of herons (that’s what a grouping of herons are called). I am assuming there may not be much I can do. I love having fish in the pond, but if I stock the pond again…