Nature is a cycle of beauty and violence. The blue heron might be one of the best examples of this contradictory balance. When in the wild, they will eat anything that they can manage to kill and get down their throat. With a presence across North America, the birds are common in many places. However, they really like it in the southeast United States.
Out on the banks of streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes, these large birds eat many things. From smaller birds to just about anything that swims in the water, blue herons make an easy meal of just about anything smaller than they are. Recently the U.S. Fish and Wildlife News Twitter account shared a stunning photo from a volunteer. In the photo, a heron is seen eating a baby alligator.
Now, this isn’t that big of a gator. In fact, it is barely a gator at all, really. However, these birds are capable of taking down bigger gators than this. A while back, a blue heron was spotted in Florida taking down an alligator that looked to be about 2-3 feet long.
When these birds are fully grown, they are absolutely massive. It is no surprise they can take down small gators. But, think about what else they can kill and eat if given the chance. If a bird was desperate enough, it could take down small mammals easily. Watch that video here. Even when aquatic prey isn’t available, blue herons make due.
Blue Heron Eats Rat in New York City
One blue heron in New York City was spotted doing the city a big favor. It was taking a shot at the rat problem in the city, especially after the historic flooding. Flood waters force the large rodents out of the underground tunnels and subway systems and into the city.
So, when video came out of Central Park with a blue heron devouring a fat rat, people rejoiced. There are not many herons in the city, and official counts are unknown. However, for comparison, there are likely less than 50 red tailed-hawks in all of Manhattan. This likely lone predator nabbed one of the biggest treats in the city for a predator bird. Honestly, it is in some ways more impressive than taking down an alligator. Those big city rats are no joke.
While these photos and videos are great, these birds can become nuisances. Those that have private ponds know that they can pull a lot of fish in a short time. However, when they are part of a healthy environment and biome, they are beautiful birds both in the air and wading in the water. Next time you find yourself near some water, check the banks and the sky for one of these tall, slender birds. Blue herons are a treat to see in person. Maybe you can catch an action shot if you’re lucky enough.