Wednesday, November 04, 2009

WATERY Wednesday #60: Little Blue Herons and their population decline

The Little Blue Heron, or the Petit Heron Bleu in French, is a waterbird I see along the shores of the bay. They are usually walking along very slowly and deliberately looking for morsels of food. (I was within 6-8 feet of the bird when I got this shot.) Although I posted about one back in July (with a crustacean of some sort in his beak), I thought I saw them with some frequency. After capturing this one, I Googled him to see what more there was of interest that I could share with you. I was surprised to discover that they are listed by the National Audubon Society as a Common Bird in Decline on a list of twenty birds. They state that the “long-term success of these herons is limited mostly by their food supply. They forage for fish, crustaceans, and frogs in shallow water in saline, brackish, and freshwater habitats, areas that are very vulnerable to declines in water quality.” The outlook for them in the southeastern United States requires “quality shallow water habitats …, so their fate depends on our protecting the quality and quantity of these habitats.” Unlike the National Audubon Society’s Watch List, they are not in immediate danger of extinction, despite the fact that their population, now at approximately 150,000 worldwide, is a 54% decline in 40 years.

According to the National Audubon Society, “Little Blue Herons breed along the Atlantic coast from southern Maine to Florida, with concentrations from South Carolina southward. Breeding across the Florida peninsula, this egret is distributed unevenly around the Gulf Coast and coastal plain, with the greatest densities in Louisiana. Little Blue Herons also breed up the Mississippi River valley into Illinois and through eastern Texas into Kansas. Wintering territory shrinks back to the warmer coasts. Little Blue Herons also occur throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and South America as far south as Uruguay…. Today, the loss of feeding habitat seems to be the greatest limiting factor for this dark heron.”

Having all this information, I think I will pay a lot more attention to the Little Blue Heron in the future and treat each sighting with a bit more awe and respect.

Click HERE to see other wet and Watery Wednesday images from around the

I'm pleased to WELCOME Beth Niquette of Independence, Oregon. Beth has four blogs, but start with Expect the Unexpected HERE for spectacular photography of one of America's most beautiful and scenic places. Starting out with a love for photography and the darkroom (many of us well remember the chemicals, noxious fumes and GraLab timers), she says, "With the invention of the digital camera, I was set free to capture the amazing, unusual and the unexpected.." You'll like Beth's world.


Beth Niquette said...

Say, thanks for the kind welcome--that's very nice!

And how wonderful your photo is--the colors of this little blue heron are just spectacular! The big ones stalking around in our river won't let me get within 14 feet--then they swoop away squawking their discontent.

I loved hearing about the little blue heron. Very cool.

Jacob said...

Did you process this in some way? It is just delightful; looks like a watercolor painting. Fantastic colors and expression. Super job!

Frank said...

@ Jacob _ Nothing special. Decreased highlight because of the bright sun but that's it. Straight shot.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

Thank you so much for the info on the blue heron AND the photo. It feels as if we can reach out and touch it!

Don and Krise said...

Nice work Frank. You managed to get closer than I did. The one I posted looked at me like I had better stay right there. Very nice.

Lois said...

I really like how the color changes on his neck and head to an almost pinkish hue. That is a gorgeous bird!

Carol said...

Thank you for my first sighting of the 'little blue heron'... beautiful photo! Carol