Nature Note – Green Herons

Green herons are one of the world's few tool-using bird species. Photo from Wikipedia.

Great blue herons may garner most of the oohs and aahs of people around the lake, but green herons, their smaller, more colorful cousins also deserve some attention. Green herons frequent small wetlands in low-lying areas. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes them as, “a striking bird with a velvet-green back, rich chestnut body, and a dark cap often raised into a short crest.” They are most active at dusk and dawn, but do feed throughout the day, particularly if tending young. They eat aquatic animal prey including small fish, crayfish, snails, leeches, frogs, and insects. If you're quiet, you may spy them camouflaged behind leaves as they crouch to catch prey with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They have been known to lure fish using twigs, insects, and other objects as bait. The Champlain Basin is near the northern limits of the species range. Green herons are most often seen hunting along the edges of wetlands.