Great Blue Herons in the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge
Great Blue Herons are an interesting type of bird that live in the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.
Blue herons are medium to large sized birds that have long ‘S’- shaped necks and strong featherless legs. Their bills are typically quite long and spear-like in shape. Blue heron wings are broad and long, comprised of 10 to 12 primary feathers with 15 to 20 secondary feathers that are soft and typically a shade of blue.
Blue herons occupy every continent expect for Antarctica and can thrive in just about every habitat outside of extreme cold terrains, desserts and extremely high mountains. Even though they are non-swimming water birds, blue herons are typically associated with water and feed on the perimeters of lakes, rivers, ponds, swamps and the sea and the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge is home to many blue herons.
The blue heron is carnivorous — feeding mostly on a variety of live aquatic prey. Their diet includes fish, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks and insects. Though they are generally carnivorous, there have been some reports of blue heron feeding on peas, grains and acorns. Some believe this is because the consumption of these plants could be accidental. Their hunting method consists mostly of sitting motionless at the edge of a shallow body of water and waiting until prey comes into sight. Then, they quickly strike their prey with their spear-like bill. What a useful tool!
Today the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge is a safe haven for these birds. Populations of blue herons that live on the refuge symbolize the close relationship between Colorado’s wildlife and residents of the Denver metropolitan area!
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia