05 January 2012

Great Blue Heron - Land Feeding

Recently I stumbled upon a Great Blue Heron.  OK, that's not uncommon - Great Blue Heron are common across much of the USA, and especially areas with lots of lakes, ponds, streams, and marshes.  But this Heron was having a leisurely stroll across a dry field.  That was odd.

Many bird species stick very close to their preferred habitat.  In fact, certain species can ONLY be seen in very specific habitat.  And herons are known for standing like a statue in shallow water, waiting for a tadpole, fish, or other aquatic meal to swim by, at which time their lightning-fast reflexes snatch it out of the water.

Great Blue Heron

This heron was exhibiting some of the same stalking behavior in this field. And after a few minutes, it snapped at some sort of rodent on the ground. For some reason the Saturday Night Live skit involving the 'Land Shark' came to mind. :)

Apparently land feeding by Great Blue Heron is not totally uncommon. Places with lots of rodents and few predators provide a good option for an opportunistic heron. For what its worth, this heron was stalking the grounds of McClellan Ranch Park in Cupertino, CA.