Weekend Birding: Green Heron
The Green Heron is a small heron that breeds across most of the United States and migrates in the winter to the southern US and as far south as Venezuela. They are usually found around the shorelines of oceans, lakes, rivers and ponds. They are often difficult to spot because they stand motionless, blending into the grass, while waiting for a fish to come within striking range.
Earlier this summer while attending a program on Purple Martins we spotted a young Green Heron hiding in the grasses at the edge of a pond near where we had assembled. We all trained our binoculars on him, got a nice look, and went back to watching the program on the martins.
About 10 minutes later we heard a squawk and the heron went sailing past us and landed on a roosting bar in front of the martin house, apparently miffed that we were no longer paying any attention to him. He walked back and forth on the bar for a few minutes. Some of the martins flew away but many of them just watched him. I have seen martins attack and drive off a hawk, but they let the heron sit with them until he was ready to go.
This was the first time I had ever seen one perched up in the air. They are usually hiding in the grass on the shore pretending to be invisible.
The photo above gives an idea of the size of the bird. The martins are the birds roosting on the bars below the house. Compared to the Great Blue Heron, the Green Heron is much smaller at about 18 in or 45 cm in length. They do have green feathers but the bright sun that morning washed out some of the color making it difficult to see.
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