Take a quiet float trip, or wade around a bend in a Missouri stream this week, and you’ll likely encounter a feathered fishing friend.
Green herons typically stand motionless or stalk intently for prey along the banks of streams and ponds. These intelligent birds are known to use tools – dropping small objects such as twigs, feathers, or insects on to the water’s surface to lure curious fish within snatching distance.
Green herons are sometimes confused with least bitterns, though their vocalizations are distinctly different.
Unlike other heron species, the green heron often nests solitarily, building nests in trees or shrubs, well-hidden by other vegetation, and often overhanging bodies of water.
These common summer residents begin flying south by the end of august to winter ranges as far away as Central America and the northern regions of South America.
Learn more about Missouri’s great green herons, and find public lands near you to watch them in the wild with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) online field guide <https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/green-heron>.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.