Birds of the Bible – Heron Update

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland (5)

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland by Lee

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19 KJV)

Great Blue Heron 2

Great Blue Heron camouflaged by Lee

And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 KJV)

The original Birds of the Bible – Heron article was posted on July 17, 2008. Seems like it’s time for an update and to keep our Heron family visible. Actually, some of the family members are very good at hiding or blending in with their surroundings. Their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, designed them to be slim like the reeds they hide in, called camouflage, and gave them the ability to move back and forth again like reeds. Notice the Tricolored Heron in the first photo. Even though he is blue, the sky color reflecting in the water actually is helping keep him “hidden in plain view.”


CLASS – AVES, Order – PELECANIFORMES, Family – Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns, Egrets


Here in central Florida we can see many Herons, such as the:
(Click link for photo from Dan’s website)
Great Blue Heron (L46″ Wingspan 72″)
Little Blue Heron (L24 Wingspan 40″)
Tri-colored Heron (L26 Wingspan 36″)
Green Heron (L18″ Wingspan 26)
Black-crowned Night Heron (L25″ Wingspan 26″)
Yellow-crowned Night Heron (L24″ Wingspan 42″)

Around the World the Ardeidae family, now with 72 species, includes Herons (46), Egrets (9) and Bitterns (15). From Thayer Birding Software, “Most herons nest in dense or dispersed colonies; a few species, including most bitterns, are solitary. Nests are platforms of interlocked sticks in trees or piles of vegetation in reeds or on the ground, built mainly or entirely by the female of material brought by the male.”

Most of the Herons rest and fly with their necks in an “S” curve. They can be seen along or in the edges of water fishing. Many stand perfectly still looking in the water and then thrust with a quick movement to either spear or catch their prey. You can see that in the video I posted yesterday.

This video of a Great Egret was watching something so intently. Also, notice how his neck sways like they do in the tall grass or reeds. Egrets are part of the Heron Family group.

Herons amaze me in how perfectly still they stand and wait. They seem so patient to me. Herons are on the “unclean” list of birds found in Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18. Because they are so “patient” and “wait,” it reminds me of:

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psalms 37:7 KJV)
And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. (Hebrews 6:15 KJV)
The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season (Psalms 145:15 KJV
And of course our great verse from last week:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Hymns mention “waiting” and being “still” and “patient. Here is a favorite:

Be Still, My Soul by Katharina von Schlegel,
1697-Trans. By Jane L. Borthwick, 1813-1897

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

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Birds of the Bible – Herons

Birds of the Bible

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns, Egrets