Sunday, September 16, 2007

Great Blue Heron vs. Snapping Turtle

An awesome post forwarded with permission from cayugabirds-l:

I've been lurking on this list for a while, but this is my first post. So first off, to everyone who posts their findings on here - a big thank you.

I had a curious encounter with a Great Blue Heron at Sapsucker Woods this morning. I found a juvenile in the little pond on the right that one passes when walking towards the Owen observation platform and he was hunting turtles(!).

He would pick up a turtle, place it on a rock and then try to pierce the shell by using his beak like a harpoon, and one could hear the jarring cracks repeatedly as beak collided with shell, but he made no headway. He then tried to swallow one of the smaller ones whole, but obviously that didn't work either. Eventually, one of the more tenacious pond dwellers decided to fight back - by firmly clamping down on the heron's tongue. The GBH tried for a whole 5 minutes to shake him off (and ended up all bloody from the effort).

Eventually, the turtle let go, but the heron did not learn his lesson and tried a couple more turtles before eventually giving up and wading off.

Here's the link to the rest of my birds gallery, mostly shot at Stewart Park, Sapsucker Woods and the Baldwin Preserve:


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