Some of the coolest birds I see when I am near the banks of the Potomac River are Great Blue Herons. Why do I find these birds so fabulous? I don’t know that I have an exact reason, but perhaps it’s because they have super-long necks, just like me. I hear long necks are considered très élégant and I find I quite agree.
Do you know what else is very long on a great blue heron?
Great blue herons are wading birds, which means they walk in shallow water to hunt for fish. Wading birds have long toes to help them walk on squishy, wet ground. Their special toes cover a lot more terrain than short toes would cover and distribute their bodyweights across wide areas. The birds are therefore able to walk over mud without getting stuck in it.
Have you ever worn snow shoes? The same principle is at work: the wide surface area of snow shoes distributes your weight across a lot of ground, allowing you to walk across snow, not sink into it.
Finally, for this week: I am thrilled to tell you about a great blue heron you can watch live right now. It is incubating two eggs in its nest as I type this. The awesome people at the Chesapeake Conservancy and Explore.org have set up a great blue heron nest cam on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It is simply fabulous. Be sure to check it out!