ABC Wednesday ~ N is for…

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and they have blacked them all out. I’m slowly working at restoring my posts without their help. Such a tiresome bother!

N is for Nests

The Great Blue Herons and their Nests in Kenmore, Washington.

 

A colony of nesting great blue herons is known as a “heronry”. When I was in Washington State over Easter I was able to get some photos of this “heronry” in Kenmore, behind the Kenmore Park n Ride.

 

When my friend Jody and I were walking on the Burke-Gilman trail one day we were approached by some bird-watchers who were looking for this heronry. I was able to direct them to where it was. It re-sparked my interest and I made it a point to take some photos the next day. When I used to pick up Dear from the Kenmore Park in Ride years ago I remembered being in such awe over this nesting area and the acitivity from these great big birds. It was wonderful to watch them fly around the nests and light onto one. This would be a great field-trip and lesson for any homeschoolers in the area.

The Great Blue Heron belongs to a large family that includes herons, egrets, and bitterns. This world-wide family has about 60 species. The Great White Heron of Florida is a local color variation of the Great Blue and belongs to the same species.

The Great Blue Heron’s long legs allow it to hunt in deeper water than most other herons and egrets.

this photo is from Seattle.gov

Herons have special patches of powder down feathers, which they rake with a foot, causing the powder to fall on fish it has caught. The powder causes the fish slime and oil to clump up so that the herons then can simply brush it off with a foot. Herons also rub the powder especially on the underside of their bodies to repel swamp slime and oils.

The Great Blue Heron can swallow a fish many times wider than its narrow neck.

Herons look for food anytime there is enough light. Studies suggest that cloudy weather is ideal for the birds to look for fish. Herons don’t just eat fish, however. They eat a wide variety of prey, including frogs, salamanders, turtles, snakes, insects, rodents, and small birds.

In catching fish, the Great Blue Heron grabs smaller fish between the two mandibles of its bill; with a quick strike it stabs the larger fish.

In the Pacific Northwest, eelgrass beds are important foraging sites for the Great Blue Heron.

Herons nest in colonies. One of the largest colonies in Washington is located in Renton; last year there were approximately 135 active nests there.

For more ABC Wednesday posts head over to Mrs. Nesbitt’s

38 thoughts on “ABC Wednesday ~ N is for…

  1. Tthats fantastic! I have never seen so many nest in the same tree. Wonderful N-post. You can come to Norway anytime and have some coffee with me, and I’l show you around:)

    Have fun:)

  2. Very informative. We have one that fishes daily during the spring and summer. I don’t know where he goes during winter.

  3. I didn’t know there were herons that far north of the same species we have regularly in Florida, since they aren’t migratory like Canadian geese, which we get during the winters but are obviously a “northern” bird. I’ve never actually seen them nesting like that down here, but our zoo has a huge colony of storks that have taken over a few trees in one of the exhibits and nest like that.

  4. Great Blue Herons are my favorite bird. We have a small lake in the middle of our town and every morning and late afternoon I see 2 Great Blues flying together either towards or away from that lake. I usually see them through the window in my office. They are truly patient birds. Thank you so much for the information about them. We used to sit in our tandem kayak and just watch them fish in the state park near us.

  5. I haven’t noticed any nests yet this year but did see a heron recently – I took a photo of the local reservoir but didn’t see the heron until I downloaded the picture to my computer.

  6. What interesting information. I have never seen so many nest in one tree like that!

    About a week ago, I thought of going out and taking some shots of nests in the leafless trees around here but soon forgot so I have something else. Come and see what!

  7. This is a super N post. We see Blue Herons in our area a lot. I am going to have to show this post to my husband he is very fascinated by them.

  8. This is a very interesting and informative post. We don’t have Great Blue’s right here, and I’ve never seen so many nest in a tree. Wow.

  9. Wow! even though I see lots of herons, I’ve never seen a heronry. This is amazing! I used to sit out at night on our patio (previous house) and watch the herons fly over promptly at 8pm every evening. We see lots of them at Boundary Bay Regional Park and even along the sides of the highway (they’re in the ditches or grassy areas.) I’d love to see one of those heronrys.

  10. Must be alot of “debris” under those, (to put it delicately).
    I never knew they nested together in apartments like that!

  11. Wow!! I was amazed by all those nests! Thanks for your explanation about these beautiful big birds, didn’t know anything about them!
    Thanks for your sweet coment on my N post, too.
    Kisses from Nydia.

  12. That is a fabulous N-post. Those are amazing nests! I’ve never seen anything like it. The photos are fabulous!

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting. I appreciate it!

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