The Blue Heron
In a green place lanced through
With amber and gold and blue;
A place of water and weeds
And roses pinker than dawn,
And ranks of lush young reeds,
And grasses straightly withdrawn
From graven ripples of sands,
The still blue heron stands.
Smoke-blue he is, and grey
As embers of yesterday.
Still he is, as death;
Like stone, or shadow of stone,
Without a pulse or breath,
Motionless and alone
There in the lily stems:
But his eyes are alive like gems.
Still as a shadow; still
Grey feather and yellow bill:
Still as an image made
Of mist and smoke half hid
By windless sunshine and shade,
Save when a yellow lid
Slides and is gone like a breath:
Death-still—and sudden as death!
Little blue heron is not an energetic bird. Sometimes, it walks quickly, or even runs, but usually, it is walking slowly and daintily along marshes. It is a solitary bird while hunting, but it nests with others in small or large colonies.
During the courtship display, the male stretches its neck upward, with the bill pointing up, and assuming a crouched posture. Its movements include bill snapping, vocalizing and neck swaying. If the female is impressed, she will approach it. First encounter can be very aggressive but, after a while, we can see signs of affection such as feathers nibbling and neck crossing. The male takes sticks to present to the female, raising its feathers and nibbling feather’s female, as she places the sticks into a nest structure.
Little blue heron feeds during the day. It is carnivorous. Its long legs enable it to wade into the water where it walks slowly to locate prey, often retracing its steps or standing motionless. It rakes the ground with its foot to disturb prey, and stretches its neck to peer into the water. It takes the prey with its long bill and eats this prey.
Because of its dark plumage and lack of long plumes, this species was not a major target for the plume hunters that decimated the populations of most of the white egrets and herons in the late 1800s. During the 20th century, Little Blue Heron has extended its range northward and increased in population in many areas.
Scan the edges of shallow water, particularly where there is adjacent emergent vegetation or overhanging bushes or trees, for this fairly inconspicuous heron. You’ll typically see them only in ones and twos, although they may gather with other herons and egrets, particularly at times when a school of small fish has become trapped in shallow water.