Great Blue Heron (Censored)

A Great Blue Heron hunting on land? Not so unusual, really, as they have a varied diet that includes “frogs, salamanders, turtles, snakes, insects, rodents, and birds”. [Source: Audubon]

What is odd is that this park is adjacent to the bay where you will typically see a variety of shore birds hunting for fish.

I first spotted this bird last year, and thought it may have been injured. It was standing motionless as people passed by on the bike path just feet away. It’s not unusual behavior for gulls and pigeons, but rather strange for a Great Blue Heron.

However, nothing would deter this most patient of hunters who remained focused on its objective. The park is home to a thriving rodent population. I remember some years ago when a trapped rat tested positive for the bubonic plague.

Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill

There are hundreds of molehills throughout the park. You can’t take a step without tripping over a hole. This particular bird has a taste for mole rats. It will stand motionless over a mound of dirt (as seen below) simply waiting for the chance to strike.

In the image below, I cropped out the actual strike. From this point on, the life-and-death struggle was rather unsettling, and it left me feeling very squeamish. To even describe what I saw, well, you’ll just have to use your imagination.

It was slow and agonizing for the prey who, after a few minutes, was swallowed whole — alive and kicking. (Those images were deleted.) It reminded me of the scene in Jurassic Park where the T-Rex preys on people.

Not surprising, I suppose, when you consider that birds descended from dinosaurs. I’m just glad that humans are higher up on the food chain.

Copyright © In Pics and Words

7 thoughts on “Great Blue Heron (Censored)

  1. Great photos David! But, why censor wildlife who kill for food when humans kill just to kill? I once photographed a bald eagle in his nest eating a coot. It was really interesting. Back to humankind, we had a mass killing in Sacramento recently. And what about the Ukraine war. I’ve totally given up on humankind.

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    1. Remember the series I did of the crow attack on the Osprey nest? Those crow were trying to kill the Osprey — not for food, but just because. I didn’t post images of the crow pummeling the female Osprey because it was just too shocking.

      Other species — from insects to lions — do kill for reasons other than food.

      To see a creature struggling to survive — while being eaten alive — well, I’m not so desensitized that I don’t find that a bit disturbing.

      The goal here was to tell the story without the shock value so that readers might exercise their own imagination.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m a strong believer that what we feed our mind directly affects our physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being.

          It can be as subtle as a TV show, movie, music genre, social media, or blog post.

          My goal is to share positivity, to lift people’s spirits, or at least not add to their daily burdens and woes — especially in times like these.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful photos. Herons really are patient. I have seen them hunt in fields when I was a kid living up at Vandenberg. I was surprised that they were hunting in the grass, but it makes sense.

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