To Avoid Hunger, Don’t Be a Picky Eater ! – Dr. James J. S. Johnson
And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. (Luke 10:8)
Earlier today I was reviewing some pages in Peter Alden’s handy guidebook, NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY FIELD GUIDE TO NEW ENGLAND (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016), and I noticed info (on page 283) on the Great Blue Heron, whose range was described as:
“Apr.-Oct: mainly inland south to MA; nests early, disperses widely by July. Oct.-Apr.: coast of s n. Eng.” [referring to its range in the New England states].
Alden also noted the habitat of the Great Blue Heron: “Marshes, watersides” [and you usually find Great Blues near water — see Lee Dusing’s “Gatorland’s Taxi Service”, posted at https://leesbird.com/tag/great-blue-heron/ ]. This makes sense — herons are wading birds, frequenting the margins of lakes, ponds, and other well-watered wetlands.
However, don’t be shocked when you find them not-so-close to bodies of freshwater, because Great Blue Herons are good at flying — and they are opportunistic eaters (e.g., crayfish, finfish, frogs, small birds, bugs, small rodents, snakes, etc.), so they are not limited to pondshores (or seashores) for their dietary opportunities. [See, accord, “Great Blue Heron Couples, Contented with Stereotypical Domestic Roles” , posted at https://leesbird.com/2018/05/31/great-blue-heron-couples-contented-with-stereotypical-domestic-roles/ ].
Why am I not surprised, today, when I think about the opportunistic travels undertaken by Great Blue Herons? Because this morning, during my morning commute along Interstate 635 (a major highway in Dallas, with the eastbound and westbound lanes divided by an expansive grassy median) I witnessed a Great Blue Heron picking around in the median’s weedy grasses, hunting for something to eat — with no body of water anywhere in sight! Picky eaters, like Florida Kites (which focus their diet on Everglade apple snails) often go hungry — but not Great Blue Herons, because their diet is anything but “picky”. (Seems like Great Blue Herons don’t like to go hungry.)