Thursday, June 7, 2012

Great Blue Heron

   At 4 feet tall with a 6 foot wingspan, the Great Blue is our largest North American heron. 

Great Blues have specialized feathers on their chest that continually grow and fray. They comb this “powder down” with a fringed claw on their middle toe, using the down like a washcloth to remove fish slime and other oils from their feathers as they preen.

This Great Blue seems to like the birdhouses at Allen's marsh in Westminster. We saw him atop this perch quite frequently. 

Although he looks like he might collapse the house, a Great Blue weighs only 5 to 6 pounds. 

Most times when you see them flying, the heron's neck is in an S-shape, this improves its aerodynamics.

Here's a good shot of him all stretched out.

You can really get an idea of the length of those wings in this picture!

Although he looks like a flasher, this behavior is simply called "sunning". It was late afternoon, the sun was setting and he's gathering the last warm rays. Springtime in Vermont!


  1. Seems you live in a bird sanctuary!

    Most appreciative of you sharing these splendid photos.