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Throughout much of North America, the Great Blue Heron graces waterways, ponds and lakes. They’re built for hunting fish and amphibians along the water — so it might be a surprise to see one stalking across a field, not a drop of water in sight! But sometimes herons leave the water to pursue prey on land, like big insects, frogs, and even small rodents.
Great Blue Herons on Land
Written by Conor Gearin
This is BirdNote.
Throughout much of North America, the Great Blue Heron graces waterways, ponds and lakes. Standing silent as frogs call out, they peer into the water looking for fish and amphibians before striking out with their long bill.
So it might be a surprise to find a Great Blue Heron stalking across a field, not a drop of water in sight. Is this heron just confused? Or ill?
[Great Blue Heron wingbeats and croaks]
Well sometimes, herons will leave the waterside in pursuit of prey on land, such as big insects, frogs, even small rodents. These birds are crafty predators, and their skills can also work well in grasslands and crop fields.
So, no cause for alarm if you see a heron in a yard or park away from the water. The bird will probably fly off once catching plenty of prey.
[Great Blue Heron wingbeats and flight call]
Just when you think you know everything about a bird, they’ll find a way to surprise you.
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
Support for BirdNote is provided by Ellen Blackstone from Edmonds, Washington and generous listeners around the world.
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Managing Editor: Jazzi Johnson
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Content Director: Jonese Franklin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Environmental ML305939 recorded by Wil Hershberger, Great Blue Heron ML135383 recorded by Mike Andersen, and Great Blue Heron ML171738511 recorded by Bruce Rideout. Environmental Prairie sound recorded by Gordon Hempton. Splash sound recorded by WWH Gunn.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2023 BirdNote July 2023
Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# GBHE-06-2023-07-24 GBHE-06