For more information and images on Green Herons, visit the Categories section below, in Florida Birds and Florida Animals — or in such posts as Wetland Smarties, Green Heron Hunting, Green Heron Fabulousness, and more.
It’s always great to see some of the shyer residents of our wetlands, and the Green Heron is one such critter. Small and stocky, they’re similar to other herons in that they remain motionless as they hunt for their meals in swampy and coastal areas.
Usually our Green herons are difficult to spot, patient and motionless as they are in our wetlands — their signature kuk or kyow calls are heard more often. [Click here to listen to their calls!] But when I do hear them, I search in the pond apple trees and cypress for their moppy crowns, in the hopes of catching their fascinating hunting process.
These guys have always been one of my favorites in our wetlands — perched high in the beautiful cypress trees during the approaching dusk. And the smarts on these little herons! Green herons will often drop bait onto the water’s surface — including live insects, berries, twigs, or feathers — to attract fish. The more curious the fish…the more likely they’ll end up as dinner at the quick thrust of the heron’s sharp bill. I’ve often seen them snap off twigs and leaves for bait, carrying it to secretive hunting areas.
This hunting technique, and their use of tools, has earned the Green heron the well-deserved distinction as one of the world’s smartest birds.
This male adult green heron was most likely guarding his chosen nesting site (nesting and baby season is in full swing), in the hopes of attracting a mate with his brilliant displays. Although they’re not the best shots — he was really hiding in the dense marsh, and not overly fond of the little attention he was receiving — I couldn’t resist including them; his magnificent ‘do makes me smile.