Bird of the Week: Green Heron

Green Heron in the Reed Canyon. Photo by Sabrina Blasik.

Green Heron in the Reed Canyon. Photo by Sabrina Blasik.

Species: Green Heron or Butorides Virescens

Star sign: Cancer

Rating: 13/10

Ideal Date: standing completely still next to a pond


The green heron is a timid bird. He’s very easy to miss if you’re not looking for him. Walking around the Canyon, your attention is more easily drawn to the quacking mallards and wood ducks, or the occasional screeching Steller’s Jay. But the Canyon has many quieter, more introverted denizens, and the green heron is one such friend. As with most herons, the green heron can typically be found along freshwater shores minding his own business, silent and still while he looks for his dinner. It takes a keen eye to spot him since his beautiful teal-green back and warm chestnut breast allow him to blend in easily with the foliage. And unlike his much flashier (and taller) cousin, the great blue heron, the green heron is only about a foot and a half long—if you don’t count his neck, which, when fully extended, doubles his height.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

If you want to go out and look for this feathery friend, keep an eye along the shoreline of Reed Lake for a crow-sized bird with a long, pointy bill and green and brown feathers. When his fluffy neck is fully curled in, he looks like a skinny beak attached directly to a green football, but when it’s extended, he more resembles a tiny, lopsided giraffe. The green heron is a solitary bird, and right now there’s only one in the Canyon. If you ever see him, be careful not to startle him; he doesn’t like company very much and will fly off if you come too close or are too loud. He seems to have a particular fondness for the embankment next to the fish ladder, so if you’re ever walking there, be sure to keep an eye out as he might be hiding in the underbrush! However, as winter draws near, he’s likely going to migrate south, so if you want to say hello to him, be sure to do it sooner rather than later.

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