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Longlegs, the Great Blue Heron

Who doesn’t love spotting a Great Blue Heron wading through water on the shallow edge of a lake or pond? It is so calming to see how they hunt for a meal while they are stalking their prey above the water. They move slowly as they search, but when it comes to catching a fish they seem lightening fast. Something that I found really interesting from Cornell Lab’s is that, “Great Blue Herons can hunt day and night thanks to a high percentage of rod-type photoreceptors in their eyes that improve their night vision.” I had no idea that they could do that, did you?

Great Blue Herons are really interesting shaped as well. Burgess writes about Peter Rabbit’s thoughts as he sees Longlegs flying in the sky,

“As Peter sat there trying to make up his mind which way to go, he saw coming from the direction of the Big River a great, broad-winged bird, flying slowly. He seemed to have no neck at all, but carried straight out behind him were two long legs… (And once he landed) If he seemed to have no neck at all when he was flying, now he seemed to be all neck as he stretched it to its full length. The fact is, his neck was so long that when he was flying he carried it folded back on his shoulders.” Thornton W. Burgess, The Burgess Bird Book for Children, Living Books Press

Cornell Lab attributes all of these neck capabilities to the Great Blue Heron having a special neck vertebrae. I think you can really see how differently their necks are shaped in the video below:

Cornell Lab

Here are the other things we found out about the Great Blue Heron in our research:

Until next time, keep on birding! <3 Kate

Find more Burgess Birds in Detail

Burgess Bird Coloring and Writing Pages

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