The elusive green heron
Green herons are about the size of a crow; they have a greenish-black head and back, for which they get their name. The green heron (Butorides virescens) is a small stocky wading bird that inhabits ponds, swamps, wetlands, and low-lying fields.
Green herons are about the size of a crow; they have a greenish-black head and back, from which they get their name. These are solitary birds that feed in the early morning, late evening or during the night and are considered somewhat nocturnal.
The green heron will stand still in the water, on the shoreline or perch in a tree and wait for prey to swim by. Green herons feed on small fish, frogs, aquatic insects, leeches, crayfish and mice. These herons are unusual in that they will drop bits of food, feathers or sticks in the water to lure prey toward them. This makes the green heron one of the few animals that uses tools for fishing and adds to the belief that they are intelligent birds.
Their range extends from Texas into Canada, but they migrate to warmer coastal areas in the winter. They can be found in Maryland from May to mid-September. They breed in early spring and will pair up with a mate to build the nest, incubate the clutch of three to six eggs, and rear the young. After the young have left the nest, these solitary birds will go their own way.
Green herons are not easy to spot in the wild; their presence is easier to confirm by the loud squawking call they make when being approached.
Article by FCFCDB
Nature Notes for 2/19/2012