During winters, I travel to Charleston Lake in Charleston, Arkansas to photograph the Bald Eagles. I always look for a Great Blue Heron that seems to catch fish near the earthen dam. I am not sure if it is the same Blue Heron I have photographed over the years, but I like to think so. This Great Blue Heron has some unique ways of catching fish. One year, I photographed it standing on a floating platform near the dam and catching fish by jumping off the platform head first (see my post “Great Blue Heron Unique Fishing Method“). Another year, I took photos of it flying after catching a fish (see my post “Flying Great Blue Heron With Shad“) and swimming with a shad in the deep part of the lake near the dam (“Great Blue Heron Swimming With A Shad“). Today’s photo is of it catching a small fish while standing against the dam bank. Nothing fancy this time, just the bird’s normal way of catching fish. I still enjoyed photographing it and hope it’s the same one I look for each year.
The lifespan of Great Blue Herons can vary quite a bit, depending on factors like predation, habitat loss, disease, and food availability.
On average, Great Blue Herons live for around 15 years in the wild. However, their first year of life is the most precarious, with about 70% of hatchlings not surviving to their first birthday. If they make it past this initial hurdle, their chances of reaching 15 years improve.
The maximum recorded lifespan for a Great Blue Heron in the wild is 24.5 years old. Though this is rare, it demonstrates these birds’ impressive longevity potential under ideal circumstances.
While Great Blue Heron populations overall are not currently threatened, it remains important to monitor and mitigate human-driven factors that degrade their wetland habitats and food sources. With proper conservation measures, hopefully more of these majestic birds can achieve their maximum lifespans.
Note: I was told that the Great Blue Heron above is an immature bird and could not be the same bird I have photographed over the years. Thanks Mia for the correction.
- Date: 12/12/23
- Time: 08:57 AM
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- ISO: 2000
- Aperture: 8
- Shutter: 1/3200
- Exp. Comp.: -0.3
- Lens (mm): 500
- Program Mode: Manual