Not this Time

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

The Great Blue Heron is a brilliant hunter, but it’s not infallible. Here it seems to have successfully stalked a burrowing mammal, very probably a gopher. The bird can sense the scrabblings of little feet underground, and its own widespread toes convey the big bird forward in utter silence. With infinite patience the hunter waits, and then strikes. We’ve seen how effective the bird can be in plucking fat gophers from their holes; see for instance “Heron, Gopher, Dog,” May 7 2020. But this time something’s gone wrong. Despite pulling with all its considerable might, the bird can’t dislodge its prey. The prey has a bad case of heron’s beak contusions, but survives. This time.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

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