A few weeks ago, I went to Langton Lake Park located in Roseville, Minnesota to photograph some birds. I have never photographed a green heron before, so I was hoping I would get a picture of one before they migrated south this year. To my surprise, I found 5 green herons at the lake! The green heron is a small dark-colored bird that often looks like it doesn’t have a neck. Whereas other herons tend to stand in open water hunting for prey, green herons tend to be near the edge of shallow water. This bird was fun to photograph, and just observing how they hunt is fascinating.
The green heron is a fascinating bird and one that is clever when catching its own food. When I was observing one at the lake, I noticed it was dropping insects and sticks in the water trying to entice the fish. They are one of the few birds to use this method. Their diet mainly consists of minnows, sunfish, perch, crayfish, frogs, and catfish. They also feed on insects like spiders, caterpillars, reptiles, amphibians, snails, and anything else that can fit in their mouth. To catch food, they strike at prey with their sharp dagger-like bill. When visiting a wetland, carefully scan the banks for a small dark-colored bird staring intently at the water.
After observing the heron for a while I decided to move on looking for another green heron. Like other herons, they nest in high-up trees and conceal their nest from predators. The male will find an area and start building the nest and later will pass it off to his mate who will finish it by shaping it. They also will renovate abandoned nests or even take sticks and use them for their own. They will have three to five eggs and incubation will take about twenty-two days. Both parents will feed the chicks and when they get older and are almost grown up they will often fight and compete for food when a parent arrives. The difference between a juvenile and an adult is that the adult will be dark-colored and have a dark rufous neck and the juvenile will have a streaked neck and a slight crest. After walking around the lake, I found a juvenile green heron on a small dock.
At the end of my trip to Langton Lake, I noticed a juvenile heron curiously looking at a fishing lure that was caught on a dead tree branch. After staring at it for a few minutes, it decided to leave looking for something else to catch. I also saw a great blue heron, double-crested cormorant, wood ducks, and mallard ducks.
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