Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 19, 2017: Great Blue Heron Bill slapping

I've been watching the behavior of a small colony of Great Blue Herons.  Three - maybe four nests in the stop of a pine tree.

I've found a very useful reference:  Pair-formation displays in Great Blue Herons.  

I've noticed that pairs of Great Blue Herons make a slapping sound that seems associated with "kissing" - grabbing each other's bill and then drawing back which creates the slapping sound.  Apparently this display is called bill slapping (or something similar).  here are some examples.

One grabs the bill of the other

There is an alternating thrust of one and then the other

Here the left heron retreats

and the right heron starts a thrust

Right heron thrusting

Bill biting

Wing flapping to stabilize the right heron's position

Finally he is tired of this display and leaves


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