Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hot heron?


OK, we've established that chickens pant in the heat. But do wild birds do this too?


I guess so.

Or maybe he was just hoping that a fish would hop right on in.


We've gone for the "natural look" around the ponds this year, can you tell?

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias).

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Edited to add:

Leave it to Swamp Things to know that this behavior has a name: Gular fluttering! I looked it up, and it's not exactly the same as panting: the bird is rapidly vibrating the floor of its mouth and upper area of its throat. According to what I read, this does not require as much energy as panting, and is exclusive to birds.

15 comments:

Jolie said...

Don't know specifically about herons, but many of the birds at our feeder definitely pant when it's exceptionally hot. I know I've seen both the sparrows and the grackles do it.

It does look particularly funny on him though -- must be the big mouth. :)

Wayne said...

Ditto on the panting. We know it's hot when the cats start panting after any exertion in hot weather - they only sweat through their toes pads.

Karen, are you taking these photos through binoculars, or a telephoto? They're really marvelous!

Rexroth's Daughter said...

How hot is it there? I haven't noticed the birds panting around our backyard feeder. We're supposed to hit 90 degrees today. First 90 of the summer. I'll keep my eye on the birds to see how they fare.
Karen-- More great photos. Your technique is so good.
Wayne-- I had no idea that cats sweat through their toe pads.

Ron Sullivan said...

They sure do. I was watching scrub jays pant in Redding last week; the official sources were admitting to 106F but I swear it was hotter in paved spots.

Looked up from my book in a south Texas campground one hot day and saw a roadrunner sitting in a bush and panting. Hot enough to make a roadrunner pant, that's pretty hot.

Birds and other critters observe siesta in that part of the world, too.

Hick said...

I know nothing about it, but I do like the pictures.

Chris Clarke said...

Ravens pant in the Mojave almost all the time. At Furnace Creek, Death Valley this past Sunday, where the temps were about 117 in the shade, the ravens held their upper and lower beaks apart at almost right angles. It was amusing watching them eat spilled corn chips while trying not to close their mouths.

Floridacracker said...

Ponds...plural. How many,did you dig 'em, how big, what's in'em?
Sorry, I really like ponds.

happyandblue2 said...

Those pictures don't look like photos. They look like paintings..

fletch said...

This heron wasn't panting. He was just in awe of the landscaping and "natural look" around the pond. Good work! The birds are impressed.

roger said...

the vignetting (shadows in the corners) on the top two, i assume, are from shooting thru a scope. i like the effect.

Rurality said...

Thanks y'all. Yep these were taken with the spotting scope. There's a lot of vignetting. But even so, it's many times better than what I'd get with the camera alone.

Thanks to RD for originally giving me the idea... I'd read about digiscoping before but had forgotten about it.

It's been cooler the past several days - high 80s. But today it got back in the 90s again. The humidity's been bad too: a dewpoint of 80 not long ago!

The cats have been panting too sometimes when they're outside.

FC the ponds were already here, and previously had many fish, but the otters ate them all. Well almost all.

Ontario Wanderer said...

I am sorry to say that birds, dogs, and cats are panting in southern Ontario too. When will the heat stop? I tried panting but lying in front of the fan seems to work better for me. I've always disagreed with air conditioning but this summer is testing me. Not only that, if the city people keep cranking up their AC we are told that black outs will happen soon and my fan won't work. Sigh!

swamp4me said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rurality said...

OW you really can't live in Alabama and disagree with air conditioning. Not for long anyway! :)

Pamela Martin said...

This summer there's been lots of opportunity to observe overheated creatures of all kinds. Robins are the most obvious bird "panters" around here. At least that was what it looked like they were doing to me. Good to get confirmation.