Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Croak Loudly and Carry a Big Stick
Herons are about as tall as a second grader and have a wing span of six feet. They employ acrobatics, yoga, and hormone-propelled ambition to snap branches off, which are then shuttled back to the nest for precision placement.
When approaching a potential branch, he crouches in a hunting posture as he does when hunting for food in water.
With his target in sight, he coils his neck back
and darts forward, serpent-like, to claim the branch with his indomitable beak.
Then the majestic struggle begins. He spreads his wings out to counterbalance the extension of his neck.
To see more photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/claremclean/?saved=1
(This bird is one of a handful of pairs that has been building a mini-colony on the UW campus, south of Drumheller fountain. This is the third year I've seen them there. I counted four nests in one stand of trees and two in another; I can't verify if all nests are active.)