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03/12/08
Heron and Comorant Antics
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Florida & SE US
Posted by: Ken @ 11:33 am

A Double-crested Cormorant was busy just off our patio yesterday morning. It was being followed around the perimeter of the lake by a three herons: A Tricolored, a Little Blue, and a Snowy Egret. They were feeding on small fish that the cormorant was probably scattering about as it dived. As I have seen happen several times before, the Snowy Egret actually flew out to where the cormorant was working underwater and, on the wing, appeared to skim small fish from the surface of the water.

Once, we observed as a Great Blue Heron waded into deep water and then actually swam like a swan as it continued to hunt for dinner. 

This morning I read a post on FLORIDABIRDS from fellow Florida pond-watcher Jean Williams  that included another twist on the behaviors of herons and cormorants. Jean said, “(T)he Herons and Egrets that frequent my pond are certainly doing their part to keep me entertained - particularly lately the Great Blue Herons.”

“Yesterday a Great Blue was walking the pond’s edge, and got to within about 8′ of a gator - about 5 feet or so long.  The Heron decided that he wanted to keep walking and wasn’t going to fly by like they typically seem to - so he squalked and charged the gator - who immediately got up and moved about 10′ up the bank away from the Heron, who happily strolled on by.  Heron 1 - Gator 0.  

“Today - a Great Blue was fishing in one of their best fishing spots, directly across the pond from my house - a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret had been following a Double Crested Cormorant around the pond - a behaviour I see often.  But then I saw a new one…   I’ve often seen when a Cormorant catches a fish, the Herons and Egrets dive-bombing the Cormorant to get the fish (and also on my pond lucky enough to see a Wood-Stork and a Bald Eagle engage in this same activity), but this one was new.  The Great Blue Heron caught a fish, and here comes a Cormorant from under water, and flys out of the water at the Great Blue attempting to steal the fish!  I’d never seen that one before.  He was unsuccessful, and the Great Blue finished his meal…”

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