A Trio of Herons

Top Photo: A trio of great blue herons in loblolly pine tree at the edge of the wetlands.

Three great blue herons were present in our little wetlands this dark and damp morning (3.8.24). As I walked down the boardwalk leading to Explore the Wild and into the wetlands, all three birds rose out of the water on the east side of the pond.

The large prehistoric looking birds flew circles around the wetlands for several minutes, as if to gain altitude to overfly the tall trees which surround the area. Instead, they all three lit in a pine, kwonking and squawking at each other as they did. It was reminiscent of courtship displays I’ve witnessed this species perform in the past.

Courtship display?

Great blue herons don’t visit our wetlands as often as they did in the past. In the first seven or eight years of my sixteen here at the museum I would see a great blue heron (GBH) daily as I walked through the wetlands. At times there were two or three vying for fishing rights. Now, it’s noteworthy to get a glimpse of just one of the outsized Ardeids. Habitat change is the limiting factor.

Prepping to leave.
One by one the birds took flight.

Some fifteen minutes later, one by one, all three birds took off to the northeast not to be seen again.

Heading off to the northeast.

For a moment I imagined how nice it would be if these birds nested here alongside our wetlands. How interesting it would be for the museum visitors and members to witness firsthand the birds raising young, bringing in nesting material and constructing a nest way up in one of the pines, incubating eggs, bringing the nestlings fish and other prey, and finally coaxing the young fledglings off the nest and teaching them to hunt right here in our wetlands. Wishful thinking?


A group of herons is, collectively, a siege of herons. Anything more than two (a pair) can be considered a group. If that’s correct, then would three herons be considered a siege?

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