Herons - Are they predators?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jerseygirl1, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, but I never would have thought that herons would kill chicks or chickens, but there was a full grown (and it was HUGE) heron sitting in a swamp maple by my house, lurking. I am also missing four chicks, nothing but feathers around. Anyone have any insight?
     
  2. babyblue

    babyblue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the big blue herons would snatch dh's baby chicks in midflight and slurp little ducklings off the pond the same way. if its small enough for them to carry (and some herons are big) they WILL take it and eat.
     
  3. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Overrun With Chickens

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    I thought so
    They left the ducks alone and took the chicks
     
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I suppose it is possible but herons are given a bad rap. I'd have to catch them at it before I'd accuse them. Baby ducks, maybe but the red winged black birds on my pond seem to ignore the heron when it shows up and they are nesting down there. I have never seen a heron take any animal or fish "on the fly" either--they generally stalk it. These aren't raptors that use talons but they stab or grab their prey with their bills.
     
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    If you google Great Blue Heron Diet it is amazing what they will eat. Pretty much anything they can get their beak around. Not just chicks either. Muskrats, prairie dogs, small birds, kittens, puppies. One site said that they are the only thing Bald Eagles are afraid of, as they will go after the nestlings. I would have never thought it.
    It's kind of odd that they are the only animal I can think of that I just have an instinctive dislike of, maybe cause they came into my yard and destroyed my goldfish population a few years ago.

    Imp- I'd rather have rats or raccoons [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
  6. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    Wow..and here i always thought that herons were docile, mellow birds...
    never knew they were such predators... interesting.
     
  7. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I have a net over the pond now. Don't like it ,but gotta do it. One of the sites said their eyes were bigger than their necks and have been known to choke to death when they grab prey too big to swallow.

    Sorry for your loss jerseygirl1

    Imp
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
  8. slackwater

    slackwater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think they're just another bird that will eat something it can catch. But they are fishers, not hunters...so it would have to be in their "area" and small enough to grab. FUll size poultry and fowl would be fine. CHicks and ducklings are probably fair game.

    I believe they are also protected, like raptors. Look, but don't touch!
     
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    There was a piece I think on Animal Planet showing a great blue heron in a public park taking pieces of bread (fed to the ducks) to shore, luring pigeons closer and catching and eating them. Definitely a learned behavior, but I wouldn't be surprised if they ate chicks or ducklings.
     
  10. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yes, there is a very stiff fine for even disturbing their rookeries, at least in NYS.
     

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