A Great Blue Treat

July 7, 2015great blue heron

Life on the Lake series, entry #2

Whenever we’re out on Bauneg Beg Lake, whether it’s with a group of kayakers or giving visitors a ride on the pontoon boat, we’re always looking to see what the lake has in store for us. On a good day, we see the loons and maybe a few turtles, but when we catch a glimpse of the Great Blue Heron, I know the lake has decided to provide us with a treat.

great blue heron flying

 

 

 

 

The Great Blue Heron, named for their bluish-grey coloring on their wings and heads, is a majestic bird that preys on almost anything including fish, small mammals such as rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. They will often swallow their meal in one gulp. Don’t let the slow movement or the often lackadaisical appearance of this bird fool you – they are quick and efficient hunters in the water. In fact, their neck vertebrae are specially adapted to curl into an S shape so they can strike prey from a distance and take advantage of a more aerodynamic flight pattern.

great blue heron in grass

 

These great birds are often found in both saltwater and freshwater habitats, including swamps and grasslands where they can hunt small mammals. I often like to think that our resident Great Blue Heron visits many different bodies of water, looking for the perfect catch or a break from the weather. Of course in these scenarios, Bauneg Beg Lake is his/her favorite spot, just as it is hopefully to other inhabitants of the lake. So the next time you see a bird poised along a lake’s edge with a little curve in their neck, know that nature has decided to give you a treat for the day.

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