Thursday, July 05, 2007

Balancing Act Part II

In April, I wrote a post about balance and mentioned the importance of being able to stand for at least 20 seconds on one foot. Adults stop hopping about and lose the agility of youth from disuse. I saw a great example of one-legged standing this weekend.

I am getting to know the habits of the Great Blue Heron that has settled on the river near the hospital. I have taken many pictures of (him) and have determined that this bird does have two legs.

On the long weekend, we went for an early morning walk and the heron was on his favourite log grooming himself in preparation for the day. I took numerous shots as he stood on one leg and preened and stretched and smoothed his feathers.
We left the heron and walked for thirty minutes down the trail. The dog had a swim in the water and we watched the cliff swallows skimming over the water at the next bridge.

As we walked back to the car, the heron was on the same log, standing immobile on the same foot. I began to be concerned that perhaps he had lost a leg. I later read that a heron will stand still for long periods of time, often with one leg tucked under a wing. How true that is!
I asked my husband if he had ever seen a heron's nest in a tree on any of his fishing trips. He knew of their nesting habits, but had never observed one.

Last evening as I walked a different section of the river, I saw a heron fly up into the high branches of a tree near the shore. I could not see a nest, but it was the first time I had seen this bird in a tree. The sun was low and the lighting difficult for a good picture, but he stayed there for some time. It reminded me of a dinosaur in a tree.

All I have to do now is find a heron rookery. I may be closer than I realize.


  1. You *are* probably close! I've seen the GBs on rooftops but not in trees. Ruth, these are wonderful photos of the most patient bird on earth.

  2. Those are lovely pictures of the heron on that log. Sometimes they seem so still as to be statues.

  3. Neat pictures of the Great Blue Herons, Ruth. I usually see them flying, so it's cool to see them standing still.

  4. When last seen, our intrepid heroine, Ruth, was on the trail of the great blue heron. . .searching for the rookery.

    Will she find it or not?

    Stayed tuned.

    Meanwhile, enjoy the superb photos.

  5. Anonymous8:22 pm GMT-4

    Why oh why does a heron lift one leg? Because if he lifted two, he would fall down.

    When it comes to balance, and “old” people, I speak from experience. I am not older. I am old. And I can’t balance nearly so well as I once did. I remember at 10 years of age walking the rail of the Canadian National Railroad that ran past my grandfather’s home on the outskirts of Stevensville, Ontario. I can’t do that now. I need a cane to walk at all outside. But walk, I do. I have resisted getting a Rascal Scooter, but my resistance is breaking down because of balance. I still take an early morning walk, though. Most mornings two miles. This morning only a mile and a half.
    Grandfather “C “ in Pennsylvania

  6. Great pictures.

    Yep. I remember your post about balance and keep reminding myself to try and maintain it :0)

    I regret that I never got to the rookery on my sister's property. For years she urged me to do it and the property went to his next wife. (That's a whole other story)

  7. Mary- Yes, these birds act like they have all day. I sometimes need to imitate them.

    Lynne- thanks...It is easy to miss them at times due to the statue-like poses.

    Ruthie- I have tried to capture them in flight. They are so big and yet so graceful.

    KGMom...You are egging me on! I can't ignore a challenge. My vacation starts at the end of this week :-)) and I may succeed.

    Father C.- Your joke is the best I have heard in long time! I should move it to the original post.

    Glad you are using a cane and I am very impressed with the distances you are walking. Most people half your age don't go that far. Exercise helps keep the brain young too. No need to "walk the rail".
    Continued good health to you!

    Cathy- Sounds like an intriguing story. Quite frankly, I had never heard of a rookery until Lynne posted pictures earlier this year. I hear they are noisy and messy things.

  8. Great blues are my totem bird!
    I had to do a lot of one-foot balancing during my rehab. It's harder than it looks! But feeling all the muscles that are involved made me realize how important it is to be able to do.
    Keep looking for that rookery!

  9. Susan- I like your totem bird. It is amazing how many muscles are activated in one leg standing. It is a skill worth practicing forever.


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