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The Common heron goes fishing in garden ponds

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Wednesday, 19 March 2014

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This edited article about the heron first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 598 published on 30 June 1973.

Common heron,  picture, image, illustration

Common Heron

It is estimated that there are about 10,000 herons in England and Wales and you will have been rather unlucky if you have not seen one flying overhead at one time or another. In flight the heron has a heavy, slow-flapping appearance with legs stretched straight out behind and with the long neck drawn in. You might see one on some stretch of river, wading in shallow water on the look-out for eels, frogs and small fish. It will also take small mammals, young birds and even goldfish from garden ponds!

The heron, it seems, is a cunning bird, for one has been seen to carry a piece of bread to the water, drop it in and then wait for small fish to come and nibble the bait so it can gulp them up one by one.

The nest of the heron is a large, untidy affair made of small branches and sticks in which smaller birds like sparrows, sometimes become squatters by moving into the “basement flat” and making their own nests. Two to six eggs are laid in early spring but the rather comical-looking crew-cut chicks are unable to fly until they are two months old.

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