Great Blue Herons are favorites of mine. They are tough & adaptive survivors. They have survived everything we have thrown at them. They even seem to take sweet revenge by raiding urban koi ponds and in an infamous case here in metro-Atlanta stealing trout off the lines of fishermen on the Chattahoochee River.

But just how good they are at surviving is confirmed by research evidence that birds are surviving descendants of the dinosaurs and Great Blue Herons are poster-birds for these ‘living dinosaurs’:

I suspect that crayfish would concur with this Jurassic Park likeness.

Among the many reasons I love snapping their picture is their gangly, yet graceful, takeoffs & landings. Maneuvering of the 6’+ wingspan is just plain goofy looking, but they make it work and it makes for interesting action photos.

As gangly as their takeoffs and landings are their stalking and spearing of prey is anything but. It is surgical in method and precision.

Great Blue Heron Precision Strike

And to add to the photographic treat is their ‘toss and pop’ gulping style.

Great Blue Heron ‘Popping’ A Tadpole

Another piece of evidence that Great Blues are survivors is the fact that their population numbers increased across their North American range. There is an exception and not surprisingly it involves the ongoing, manmade travesty in the Everglades. The Great White form population of Great Blue Herons is declining rapidly in south Florida. At the current rate of decline they will soon be listed as threatened if not endangered. Another casualty in the effort to turn these once majestic wetlands into ‘productive use’.

Technical Notes

These photographs and video were shot with the OM Digital Systems OM-1 and Olympus M.Zuiko 150-400 F4.5 TC 1.25X Pro telephoto lens.

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