Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Great Blue Heron and Red-winged Blackbird

I originally saw this photo on They were reposting the original from the The Nature Conservancy.

It's funny. Both of these birds can be found locally, but the photo was taken in Canada. If you are a Lubbockite and spend any time looking around our playa lakes, you will see a great blue heron. In fact, I believe that the gbh is probably the largest wild animal you are likely to encounter within our city limits. It's a rare week that I see fewer than four as I travel around town.

As a teenager, I was lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of early mornings fishing by myself. During those times, I came to view these solitary and graceful birds as kindred spirits as they stalked the shallows in search of fish, frogs, crawdads, and snakes. I often stopped fishing so that I could watch them efficiently pick out their breakfast. One of my favorite things to see was a heron stretching its wings in the early morning sunlight.

The other bird in the photo is a red-winged blackbird. They have a very distinctive call that I have come to associate with water. You will often find them nesting in cattail reeds. If you do, don't get too close. They are quick to attack and will very aggressively defend the nest. (I was once knocked out of a small boat by one.) Respect the blackbird.

May you have the opportunity to be moved by natural beauty soon.

Bonus links:

NatGeo Great Blue Heron

NatGeo Red-Winged Blackbird

Bobby McFerrin sings "Blackbird"