How you found your way back I cannot comprehend.
On this first day of spring, you have returned!
Welcome back, my feathered friend. - Greg
The Great Blue Heron is North America’s largest and most abundant heron. With its long stilt like legs, long neck, and spear shaped bill, it is well equipped for wading in water and catching fish.
Many Great Blue Herons migrate south for the winter, but return to Michigan as soon as the ice melts by the end of March. The cold weather doesn’t have as big an effect on a birds’ survival as their ability to find food. They eat lots of fish, amphibians, small mammals, aquatic invertebrates and reptiles so open water for hunting is a must.
This heron may have it rough in the beginning of spring, but the first birds back have the chance to be the first to choose the best nesting territory. Breeding occurs in Michigan from March to May.
These 3-5 feet tall birds like to build nests in trees with other herons in colonies close to lakes or wetlands. The female lays three to six pale blue eggs and both male and female take turns incubating the eggs for a month.
Both parents take turns feeding until the babies fledge 60 to 81 days later. After they leave the nest, the parents continue feeding the babies for a few weeks while they teach them to hunt.
The average lifespan for the Great Blue Heron is 15 years. As with most animals, they are most vulnerable when they are young. More than half (69%) of the great blue herons born in one year will die before they are a year old. After 22 months they reach their sexual maturity and look for a mate.
Thank you Greg for sharing your wonderful photograph! If anyone would like to share a photograph of nature send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll put it on the Friday Photo posts.