Great Blue Herons' Territory Defense Creates Spectacular Results!
(Sandy Pond, Sandy, UT. 2-5-13)
Below is a series of images of 2 Great Blue Herons, beginning when a 2nd bird appeared in a location occupied by a 'resident' bird.
But before we begin, note the distance, hence severe crop needed in the ensuing series of images:
Original size image:
Cropping so severely reduces image quality; but I had no choice here.
The first images are mostly of wings flailing...
Finally the birds' heads emerge, to find the Heron on the right has a firm hold on the tongue of the bird on left!
An extreme, fuzzy crop shows the bird on the left with mouth agape, tongue being firmly held; and the bird on the right being held by the neck with a leg emerging from the water!
The bird on the right is determined not to let go of its grip on the others' tongue!
At this point, the birds disconnected, with the left bird having its tongue jutting out of its open mouth, toward the camera!
The left bird swings away, still holding its mouth agape, likely in pain.
Had the foray ended?!
No way! The right side (larger) Heron attacks again!
This time the marauder attacks, using its bill to grip the others' head!
This position was held for a time...
Finally the 2 birds broke away, only to chase one another on land.
Notice how much smaller the left Heron appears when contrasted here:
Both birds running, but keeping distance between them...
A final standoff, just before the left-side bird lifted into the air to disappear, leaving the resident Heron and his territory!