Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in My Blog | 12 comments

Grieving the Great Blue Heron

With all that is going on in our world today and friends facing terrible situations, some life-threatening, I still find myself grieving the loss of the beautiful Great Blue Heron dying in its nest.  So, so sad.  A few weeks ago, I watched one of the pair enticing the other with their courting displays.  I stood not 15 ft. from them observing the male flying to & fro with twigs and limbs gathered to build the nest and the female receiving each limb and positioning it in just the perfect place, making adjustments as needed.  

We watched with, perhaps, a little chuckle inside as the male would mount her, and her spreading her wings slightly and crouching.  It was over quickly but would occur numerous times. I thought, “They want to make sure they get some babies!”

Last Saturday, December 13, I saw one of them return to the nest and a lot of “fluff” bounce up slightly.  I thought , “Surely, there couldn’t be chicks yet!”  I realized, as I focused my lens on them, it was one of the “agreed” pair lying down so flat in the nest.  So, that made me wonder if their were eggs to be kept warm.  

But, now we know…what none of us wants to be the case, the mate has died in the nest they built to raise their young and give to us, the admiring birding community, so much joy.  

Now, we find ourselves wondering how this will play out.  This beautiful living mate with its bright blue lore signaling it is ready to create more Great Blue Herons, how will this go?  What will happen to the lifeless mate in the nest?  

I find myself now wanting to visit the surviving mate…and following that…just not watch.  


  1. 12-18-2014

    That was such a nice tribute to these beautiful birds. I have known for almost a week that the GBH was deceased, but I did not want to stir up any more grief than has been stirred up already by having the GBH coping with the material stuck on his lower beak. This group gets pretty emotional about the lovely birds we see every day. Fingers crossed that the GBH will eventually get that material off his beak and goes on to become a parent to some little “bratty” GBHs.

    • 12-18-2014

      I only saw it Saturday and thought it was odd. It’s just sad.

    • 12-19-2014

      I posted an album about a month ago called The Courtship Of The Great Blue Heron. I now know that one of the pair has died. Last Feb. in the same spot there were 2 babies and a caring parent. Then one day I showed up and one baby was gone . I was devastated . My birding mentor had to tell me over and over again that it is a mistake to get too attached . I had even named the babies Tom and Jerry. Now here we are almost a year later and tragedy strikes in the same exact spot. Nature is indeed harsh. I still can’t help mourn the loss is the babies that would have been in the nest that is almost close enough to touch. Thank you for this loving tribute of these beautiful birds.

      • 12-19-2014

        Eileen, I’ve always heard that the deeper the love, the greater the grief is in loss. It surely applies here. We do try not to get attached but they are just so lovely and bring such joy and beauty to our eyes.

  2. 12-18-2014

    Thank you so much for saying so eloquently what so many of us are thinking and feeling this week.

    • 12-18-2014

      We really care for those birds, don’t we? Such examples of gifts from the Creator of our Universe!

  3. 12-19-2014

    Thank you Pat, it’s a lovely tribute to the GBH.

    • 12-19-2014

      Thankyou, Desiree, for your comments and shared love of these lovely creatures!

  4. 12-19-2014

    Pat, thank you for the tribute and the heartfelt words and thoughts. I find myself passing the spot so quietly and sad and don’t even attempt to take a photo. We will keep watching the mate and I too wonder what will happen next.

    • 12-19-2014

      Thank you, Maria, for visiting my site and your comments.

  5. 12-19-2014

    So sorry when this happens. It’s nature, and sometimes we don’t know if man-made causes resulted in it’s death. Do keep us up to date on how the mate fares….. So sad.

  6. 12-19-2014

    Linda, its something that happens in nature and it is hard to view so close up. Thanks for your interest. 🙂

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