The grey heron (Ardea cinerea) in Europe

The grey heron (also known as Common Heron) is a large solitary wader. Very cautious, he is rarely seen in gardens, but he can nevertheless be attracted to ponds to catch fish or frogs. He will then return until he has exhausted this very point source of food. Shy, we see him fly away precipitously when he is disturbed. It will then be necessary to be patient to observe its fishing at dawn or in the evening. Fish farmers who view the arrival of a Grey Heron with a negative eye should contact a bird protection organization.

Grey herons generally nest in colonies (heronry), which can be frequented for centuries. The brooding period begins early often before the first leaves appear on the trees.

The Grey Heron likes wetlands.
When hunting, it frequents a variety of habitats in running or stagnant, salty or brackish water, provided the depth is not too great; that is, less than 40 cm: marshes, ponds, lakes, rivers, flooded areas, ditches, lagoons, polders. In Brittany, it also frequents the sea shores. Its long legs allow it to walk in shallow water in order to spot its prey transparently on the surface of the water. He is able to stand still for long periods on the lookout for his next meal. When a prey does show up, it thanks it with its long neck and harpoon-shaped beak in less time than it takes to tell. The dishes he likes are varied: fish, crustaceans, amphibians … he knows how to show a certain opportunism. Outside the breeding season, it is frequently observed in cultivated fields, wastelands and meadows where it feasts on rodents.

More infos about this bird here

Jacques Julien

French photographer based in Paris specialised in black and white photographs, animal photos, architecture, portraits.