A familiar sight in our autumn marshes is this tall lone bird standing silently….Even most of the kids here on the Cape recognize these iconic birds as great blue herons. In the early fall we have so many of these birds feeding in area marshes that you can often see a dozen or so at the same time. By now, though, most have moved on, flying south where the weather is warmer and the fishing more sure….Every year some herons stay behind, however. Often one will seem to claim a marsh area as their own. Some will make it through the cold winter and some won’t. A lot depends on the severity of the storms and the amount and longevity of ice that blocks their feeding. They also fall prey to predators such as coyotes and hawks. They might seem like a big target for a smallish hawk and they are probably somewhat rare but such attacks have been witnessed here.
This bird was photographed at First Encounter Beach marsh in Eastham on Cape Cod.