Great Blue Heron Family 50 feet up a CottonWood Tree
This family portrait was taken from about 100 yards out from an adjacent ridge. I’m in my portable blind at the time (Jeep Grand Cherokee). I find that vehicles make very good blinds. Most birds aren’t threatened by slow moving cars but these guys are aware when I move into their ‘territory’. Once I’m there and stationary, they go back to normal behavior soon. Maybe a few minutes of nervous and then they are all back to normal business.
Mostly watching Herons in the rookery is about shift changes. Sometimes it’s hours between comings and going even with several breeding pairs. There is no schedules to it as far as I can tell. Incoming parents switching out with their better half who has been sitting on eggs for hours. The male brought back a belly full for the young this time. It will be the turn of the female next turn around. They don’t spend too much time all three on the nest. Usually it’s just 2 or just the fledgeling after it gets old enough.
Great Herons do best when they are away and free from human disturbance and have areas nearby to forage. This rookery is several miles from any ranch building or human activity. That is except me in my car every few days during breeding season.
Great Blue Herons have specialized feathers on their chest that continually grow and fray. The herons comb these feathers into a “powder down” with a fringed claw on their middle toes. They use the down powder like a towel to remove fish slime, organics and other oils from their feathers as they preen. By applying this powder they protect their feathers against the water slime and oils of lakes and swamps.
Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
Title: Great Blue Heron Family