Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Great Blue Heron in Ohio

I was just running across the Little Miami River Bridge in Loveland, Ohio. To be clear, it is January...so, I looked down and saw...a great blue heron!! I know my birds, so I know what I saw, but I was really surprised! So, I looked on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website and got this cool picture, and the following info:

"One of the largest bird species in Ohio, populations of the great blue heron are widely distributed throughout the state. Native to Ohio, there was a time when heron numbers dwindled as these birds’ feathers were a favorite of the millinery trade during the 1800s. The great blue heron is often observed motionless, as it pursues its prey while standing in a stream, river or wetland. Unlike numerous other predators that actively stalk on foot or wing, the great blue heron takes the complete opposite approach–it stands still, watching the water for a fish. Then in the blink of an eye, in a sharp and seamless movement it will snare its prey."

Ok, so they do exist in Ohio. But, in JANUARY!?!

I read a bit further and came up with this quote from the same site:

"The herons will migrate to warmer areas with unfrozen waters in the winter; rarely does a great blue heron remain in the state at this time of year. They return to Ohio as soon as the ice melts mid-February in warm years and mid-March during a particularly long or cold winter."

I am thinking that this guy is hanging around because it is so unseasonably warm. I will look for him again!

By the way, and on a related topic, this place is TEEMING with Canada geese. Their honking sounds very similar to the crazy sound that sand hill cranes in FLA make...

Here are some pics of each that I snagged from Wiki(!)