ARTISTS AND BIRDS

"Super Size this Meal but Skip the French Fries"

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue
                        Heron
        Most Great Blue Herons in southern Utah are seen by bodies of water. Swamps, ponds, reservoirs, golf courses, and rivers like the Santa Clara and Virgin. Great Blue Herons are hunters of the wetlands and will pursue almost anything. Their meal can be mice, snakes, small
birds, frogs, and mini sized fish clear up to those big enough to make any fisherman holler for joy.

        At the Bloomington Golf Course Pond this week we spotted a Great Blue Heron. The heron was carrying a huge orange colored something in its bill. It kept tossing its head, flipping the object around, dropping it, picking it up again and again, trying to get this large thing into a swallowing position. He was having a hey-day (hey look what I caught . . . and will I ever be able to swallow it this day). The huge thing was a shiny Goldfish, four times larger than the typical prey, and there was no way for the Great Blue to swallow it.

        Great Blue Herons will attempt to position a captured fish so the head slides down the gullet for a smooth passage into the stomach. Time and time again the heron attempted to swallow the fish, but to no avail. The Heron was acting like a little kid who had ordered an extra super-sized hamburger . . . and was bound and determined to ‘eat it all down’. When we left the area, the Great Blue Heron was still trying to make a meal of that large fish. Even if this was ‘his catch
of a lifetime’ . . . could he turn this super-size catch into a meal?

        The artist is Keith Davis, just the way he saw it. If you have questions about herons, any birds, or the Red Cliffs Audubon General Meetings and Field Trips call 435 673-0996.