Great Blue Heron Slips on Ice

My photograph today is of an embarrassing moment when a Great Blue Heron slipped and fell on a frozen lake.

Great Blue Heron Falling On Frozen Lake
Great Blue Heron Falling On Frozen Lake

I made a couple of blog posts about this Great Blue Heron already. The first post was of the heron pecking at ice to get to a fish trapped near the surface of a frozen lake (Great Blue Heron Attempts to Retrieve Frozen Fish). The second blog post was of the “Great Blue Heron Stands its Ground Against Bald Eagle“.

These birds are known for their wading behavior in shallow waters, and they may occasionally encounter slippery surfaces such as ice. A wildlife photographer friend photographed an adult Great Blue Heron slipping on ice at Bear River (Great Blue Heron Slip Slidin’ Away). This behavior is not uncommon, as herons are adapted to wetland environments and may encounter various surfaces while foraging for food.

Their long legs and high center of gravity make them somewhat clumsy on land, and the smooth, slippery surface of ice can be challenging to navigate.

However, Great Blue Herons are also very adaptable birds and have several strategies to help them stay upright on ice:

  • Careful foot placement: They will take slow, deliberate steps and spread their toes wide to increase their grip.
  • Using their wings: They may use their wings for balance, especially if they start to slip.
  • Avoiding open water: They will generally avoid areas of thin ice or open water, where they are more likely to fall in.

Image Information:

  • Date: 01/12/14
  • Time: 08:52 AM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D
  • Lens: Canon 500mm F4
  • ISO: 640
  • Aperture: 6.3
  • Shutter: 1/2000
  • Exp. Comp.: -0.3
  • Lens (mm): 500 (Fixed)
  • Program Mode: Aperture Priority