On a leisurely ride down the Periwinkle Bikepath Saturday, a great blue heron caught my eye. So I stopped a few minutes to watch.
The big bird was hanging around the weir or shallow dam that holds back the creek to form the pond in the middle of the park. First the heron was down by the edge, patiently waiting and occasionally dipping its beak into the flow to grab something.
Then it flew to the opposite bank. And finally it decided it would try its luck on top of the weir itself, as you can see below:
Here’s what the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says of these handsome and stately birds, the largest herons in North America:
“Great blue herons frequent many habitats from shallow areas of marshes, lakes, streams, and oceans, where they feed on fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates; to pastures and dry fields where they hunt for rodents, primarily during the winter. Herons are highly adaptable and may be found hunting in urban settings such as ponds of city parks.”
City parks indeed. It aptly describes the bird that’s the star of this piece.
ODFW says the great blue heron is “a fairly common to common resident throughout the state.” Common maybe, but still a surprising and welcome sight when you spot one in the middle of town. (hh)