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Monday, May 7, 2012

Great Blue Herons -- dramatic video plus live webcam

My first encounter with a Great Blue Heron was an encounter of the closest kind, and sometimes I remember it as an almost mystical experience.

Great Blue Heron mother with three chicks.     Photo courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
My two young sons and I went exploring in the woods near our home one day and came to a swampy area. I'm sure the heron knew exactly where we were all along. But we had no idea where he was. Then we parted the underbrush near a deep puddle in which he stood. Suddenly he rose up in front of us, and spreading his huge and magnificent wings, flew right over our heads.

Great Blue Herons live year 'round in many areas of the Pacific Northwest, but they face difficult conditions in the effort to survive and multiply, including loss of habitat and threats from predators, like owls. Here is a link to a web cam on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife web site. Please take a look at this site too, which includes directions to viewing areas in the Northwest. There are herons in my Tacoma neighborhood.

Herons Forever

In a recent post I introduced you to the exciting "nestcams" operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University, in Ithica, N.Y. My particular interest then was the Red-tailed Hawk nest on top of a light pole, where the chicks were hatching. Just a few days later, a webcam located at the lab's Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary continued the drama with a pair of Great Blue Herons as their eggs began to hatch as well.

The following video is a "must see" in high definition. "Tree-top view of Great Blue Herons in amazing double flight to nest"

Since March 27, according to a press release from the Lab of Ornithology, more than half a million people in 166 countries have watched the heron web cam. This groundbreaking, 24/7 high definition and night-viewing technology has scientists excited too, because they have never before been able to study these birds this thoroughly, especially at night.

“From the very first night, viewers witnessed little-known events, such as herons courting and mating by moonlight,” said Dr. John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “They’ve watched live as the herons defended their nest, uttering rarely heard, spine-chilling defensive screams as Great Horned Owls attacked in early morning hours. Even the professionals are gaining new insights from these live cams.”

Here is live web cam feed from the nest:
Below, you can watch dramatic video of a Great Horned Owl attack on a mother Great Blue Heron who valiently protects her eggs.

Nature provides the best kind of "reality" show. Don't you agree?

photo courtesty of Cornell Lab of Ornithology

1 comment:

Eve Sanchez said...

Very cool bird. I love birds but had never seen this one. Thank you so much for sharing.