During the gray days of winter, when it is difficult for the human eye to discern the difference between the darkness of water and the edge of the dismal sky, the Great Blue Heron stands alone and waits. The lack of movement makes the bird invisible to humans. The bird’s gray-blue body blends with the fog, fades into the cloudy skies, transforms itself to the shapes of rotting driftwood or the dark rocks of the shoreline. Stooping over, the bird holds its wings draped like a somber shroud. Waiting, the bird holds its dagger-like bill ready to plunge it into the heart of a lethargic fish.
When winter temperatures drop, ponds are frozen. The bird’s usual diet cannot be found. So the heron lifts its great wings, flys across foreboding skies, then descends upon unlikely habitats to roam open fields in search of mice. On windy days, the bird disappears completely, stepping into the tall grass to escape the cold.
The Great Blue Heron’s identity is uncertain. Mistaken sometimes for other herons, the bird is confused with the Tri-colored Heron or the Little Blue Heron.
The Great Blue Heron is such a strange bird it sometimes, but rarely, is born in contrast to its own identity, leaving it as white as snow. Then it resembles the Great Egret. Only the crown and plume of the heron’s head and that great dagger-like bill display its true origin.
Watch for the Great Blue Heron at the water’s edge, near the tall grass where this feathered enigma survives the challenges of winter.