Birder’s Notebook; Great Blue Heron

Birder’s Notebook by Bob Andrini; 16 August Entry. A common bird on ponds and rivers in our area is the great blue heron. Many people recognize them by their color and size. The large birds stand very stoic as they wait for their food to come swimming by – what a way to get a meal.

The scientific name for the great blue heron is Ardea herodias: Ardea comes from the Latin meaning heron; herodias from the Greek also meaning heron.  Great blue herons stand and fly with their neck in an “S” shape. When flying they appear prehistoric with the curved neck and 6-foot wingspan. They feed in shallow ponds and river edges but may also be found feeding in fields and meadows looking for rodents and snakes.

They nest in rookeries, and often when the young get big enough, they will ‘nest hop’ from one nest to another. When alarmed, they will emit a loud harsh frahnk frahnk frahnk as they take off from the water.

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