Blue heron

A great blue heron shows off some of its signature characteristics — an S-shaped neck, yellow bill and jaunty head feathers.

It’s that time of year when most of us want to be on, around or in the water. In fact, I suspect that there aren’t too many people who live in our area who really just don’t like being around lakes or rivers. We share this wet way of living with all kinds of creatures who make their living from our lakes and streams much as many of us humans do. One of my favorites from a young age has been the enormous, prehistoric-looking great blue heron.

Great blue herons are one of the most popular and recognizable waterbirds around the U.S. There weren’t as many of them around in Indiana when I was little, and it was always a treat to visit relatives in Spread Eagle in Florence County and see them flying around or stalking their prey on the shores of East Lake. The other place I usually saw them as a youngster was down in Florida, where if we were lucky we’d see them in their spectacular all-white form (sadly, this form of the species is on the decline in Florida). My step-grandmother had a tame blue heron that hung out in her yard by the canal that we named, for some reason, Ishkabibble. Despite the undignified name, it was a spectacular bird.