The Great Blue Heron is very way cool bird: Four feet tall, six foot wingspan, cruising speed is 25 mph. Most of them Winter down south, but the elderly, the lazy, and the intrepid stay up here in the Midwest all year long and some of them even survive it.
I see them while kayaking flatwater in our area as well as in all nearby parks with shallow water that’s good for fishing. They’ll eat pretty much anything they find in the water including snakes, frogs and crayfish, but mostly they’re after fish: minnows, bluegills, even catfish. For a bird brain, the herons seem really smart. It’s only instinct, but they know to eat a fish head first. If they didn’t, gills and fins could rip their throats out, and nobody likes to have their throat ripped out.
It’s fun to watch them hunt. It only takes a little bit of waiting on your part (and theirs). They’re so stealthy, so quiet, and so quick and exacting when it’s time to strike. Usually, if they get it, it’s a quick, clean, grab-&-swallow situation. This one had a bit of swamp salad to clean off first. Yick!