Thursday, April 1, 2010

Great Blues Return!!

.
March 30, 2010 marks the return of the Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) to Cape Breton.  At least to my little corner of the world!  I spotted 3 flying overhead, presumably heading to the small island in front of my home where they have a rookery.  And a fourth, just minutes later, heading in the same direction!  Much to my delight, they are one of the last birds to leave us in the fall and one of the first to return in the spring.


Did you know that none of the members of the heron family has a preen gland, from which most birds obtain oil to condition their feathers?  Instead, herons have 'pulvi-plumes', feathers that disintegrate at the tip, becoming a cleansing powder, which the bird spreads with the comblike edge of its middle toe.

For more interesting facts and pictures of herons,
check out Daily Heron!

To see more Nature Notes go to Rambling Woods.





15 comments:

Rose said...

I did not know that about the herons...we learn something new every day in blogging.

Carver said...

I love this shot of the great blue in flight over the water. I didn't know that about herons having "pulv-plumes". I love to learn something new.

ramblingwoods said...

Karen...The Geese of Beaver Bog by Bernd Heinrich is an all time fav of mine. I have re-read it twice and you're right, it would be hard to dislike geese after reading that book.

Hey...we both had great blue herons return...I love them.....Michelle

christopher said...

Wow..wonderful picture of that blue heron...and an excellent synopsis as well.

Crafty Green Poet said...

this is a beautiful photo, I love herons! Our herons are resident all the year round, though I think they've suffered from the harsh winter. I didn't know about their lack of a preen gland, that's really interesting!

Kay said...

I love watching favorite birds return. Your herons are beautiful birds.

Hugh said...

Thanks for the link! I added your heron to the "Other people's herons" page on Daily Heron.

ksdoolittle said...

I've enjoyed all your comments. Thanks for stopping by my Cape Breton blog!

Hugh, I appreciate being added to the Daily Heron, one of my favorite sites! Thanks! ~ks

Johnny Nutcase said...

ohh! sweet flight shot, it's great!

The Early Birder said...

Lovely in flight shot Karen. Interestingly I am currently sorting through some pics of a Grey Heron preening that I will post soon. Hope you are having a great Easter weekend. FAB.

ramblingwoods said...

I forgot to add that I didn't know this about herons.....I do love them..

Linda Reeder said...

What an interesting fact about the preening/powdering!
Here in the Pacific Northwest we are fortunate to have these magnificent birds year round in our wetlands.

Nicole said...

Gorgeous photo & so glad they are back :)
I didn't know that bit of Info, amazing birds!

EG Wow said...

This is an incredibly nice photo! WOW!

Pam said...

I had no idea about their feathers. This a a wonderful capture of the Heron in flight.