Herons, every flavor

I've never seen so many different types of herons in one place. Marsh Trail, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Florida. Let's start with the most recognizable one, the Great Blue Heron.



There might be a tiny photobomb in the photo above. If you think their coexistence is always peaceful, you've got another thing coming.

Let's focus on size so that you can get the full effect of the variety of herons living in the same habitat. The Great Blue Heron can reach heights of up to 4.5 feet. I'm not even a foot taller than that. Whoa. At its largest, the GBH can weigh up to about 8 pounds. That's a solid bird. Birds don't weigh very much. Its wingspan can reach up to 6.25 feet! Here, this will make it easier to compare them (please note that I'm using the maximum values observed for each field):

Great Blue Heron Height: 4.5 feet (137 cm) Weight: 8 pounds (3.6 kg) Wingspan: 6.25 feet (190 cm)

Next up we have the Tricolored Heron.






Just a quick reminder that I saw these birds within minutes of each other, even seconds. It is immensely satisfying for a birder to experience the occasional easy-birding-paradise!

Tricolored Heron Height: 2.5 feet (76 cm) Weight: 1.25 pounds (550 g) Wingspan: 3 feet (90 cm)

Next we have the Green-backed Heron (or Green Heron, as we call it in the United States).



Green Heron Height: 1.5 feet (48 cm) Weight: 0.5 pounds (260 g) Wingspan: 2 feet (60 cm)

Though there are three herons pictured above, 12 different types of herons inhabit the area. That includes egrets and bitterns because they're in the same family. The vast variety of shapes, sizes and colors are customary for non-passerine bird families. I think we can all agree that herons are underrated and should be getting at least as much attention as flamingos.

Join me Sunday for the kickoff to Iceberg Week here on InkFromTheQuill!