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Thread: Swimming Heron

  1. #1
    David DesRochers
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    Default Swimming Heron

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    I've never seen a heron swim like a duck. Is this normal behavior? Photo taken in Cranford NJ. Canon 40D, 100-400 MM at 400, f5/6, 1/2000 sec.

  2. #2
    Axel Hildebrandt
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    I'm not sure how common it is but I have seen a willet happily swimming like your heron.

  3. #3
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    I remember seeing this on BPN before David. They are not really designed to swim are they?!

    Quick question- how deep was the water? Could the heron have been cheating with its feet on the bottom?!

  4. #4
    David DesRochers
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    John,

    I'm not sure how deep the lake is (it's a small lake in a local park) but it's very possible the feet were used to move the heron forward.

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    It is surprising how adapt some unlikely candidates are at swimming. There was an article with photos a couple of years ago showing ptarmigan landing (at taking off) out in the Bering Sea. I've heard of many passerines (warblers and the like) landing out in the Gulf of Mexico during migration. For many of these species swimming is probably not the preferred option but it seems quite a few are capable of it when the need arises.

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    I've seen GBH's swim on several occasions...most frequently on the lake our cottage is on, but also on the St.Lawrence River and in the pond beside my house. Most of the time it seems to happen when schools of baitfish are near the surface, judging from watching the birds successfully catch fish while swimming.
    Never been able to photograph one in the act, though...cool image, David.

  7. #7
    Jeff Wear
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    I have watch them but only going from point a to b but the NH was doing the duck to hunt --posted it here
    http://www.birdphotographers.net/for...ad.php?t=44039

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Always nice to witness unexpected behaviour. Here is another similar thread that was discussed previously...with additional examples of species we don't think of as "swimmers" :-)

    http://www.birdphotographers.net/for...ad.php?t=33141

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    I have seen Black-crowned Night Herons up to their necks in water in the Falkland Islands and American Bitterns swimming.

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