North Carolina Mountain Birds: Green Heron

This month, we have been fortunate to see a Green Heron on the pond at the Inn on Mill Creek B&B. This is the first year that we’ve seen one, although that doesn’t mean they haven’t been here before…we just never noticed! So now that we have taken notice, this beautiful bird is getting the May 2015 spot in our 12 Months of Birding at the Inn series on the blog.

Bird with black head and brown body standing on the edge of a body of water

Green Heron [Photo: Nature Mapping Foundation]

The Green Heron is shorter and stockier than a lot of other herons. From a distance, it may look like one solid, dark color, but up close, you can see that it has a dark green back, gray wings, and a chestnut-colored upper body. The Green Heron often sits hunched and motionless, waiting to surprise fish and insects. It has a very long bill that makes it a very effective fish catcher. In addition, check out this fun fact from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

The Green Heron is one of the world’s few tool-using bird species. It creates fishing lures with bread crusts, insects, earthworms, twigs,feathers, and other objects, dropping them on the surface of the water to entice small fish.

Bird with brown chest, green and black wings, black head and yellow eye ring

Green Heron [Photo: Brandohl Photography/Cornell Lab of Ornithology]

What we like about the Green Heron is that even though it has a generally sleek appearance, the feathers on its head will sometimes stick up, giving it a “bed head” look, almost like Kramer off of Seinfeld. Seriously.

Chest and face of a brown bird with large beak and black feathers standing up on its head

Green Heron [Photo: Dan Pancamo/Wiki Commons]

The Green Heron is a summertime visitor to our area, migrating north in the springtime and heading back home to its southerly abode sometime around August.

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