Saturday, November 22, 2014

Great Blue Heron

During a 31 October 2014 stroll through Carleton College’s arboretum, Erika and I happened upon a late-migrating Great Blue Heron. The rusty-tipped wing coverts indicate this bird is young. Last fall, we also found a late Great Blue, and we found it all the way through December.
As we watched, the heron raised all of its body feathers and then, in the last photo, violently shook them. I was surprised that this behavior is apparently not described by Vennesland and Butler (2011) in The Birds of North America. I assume this shaking is a feather maintenance behavior. The bird was aware of my presence, and it may have been getting its plumage in order in case it decided to flush. I, however, retreated, and the bird walked away.

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