An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Great Blue Herons Mating

4-22-13 great blue herons copulating2  IMG_8954Numerous displays lead up to the mating of great blue herons – neck stretching, bill clacking, wing preening, circling flights, twig shaking, crest raising, neck fluffing, to name but a few. After this elaborate courtship comes copulation, which is not nearly as showy. Copulation typically takes place on the nest. The male places one foot gently in the center of the female’s back. The female leans forward, bends her ankles and holds her wings slightly away from her sides while the male lowers himself, often flapping his wings. Once the job is done, the male flies off. If you look closely you can perhaps make out that the male is grasping the female’s head/neck while copulation takes place.

4 responses

  1. Irma Graf

    How on earth does Mary Holland get these pictures?!? Can’t say the mating looks all that comfortable for either gender…

    April 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    • So much of wildlife photography is pure luck, Irma!

      April 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm

  2. Kathie Fiveash

    And so much is pure skill plus pure attention plus perfect patience.

    April 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    • Thanks, Kathie. It does help to know when and where to look for things, but even then, luck has to be on your side!

      April 25, 2013 at 9:29 pm

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