Great Blue Herons Sparring Times Two

Although you might worry the outcome and don’t want to see one injured, it is still interesting to watch how birds of the same species handle a disagreement over territory.

Twice I’ve photographed this action between two Great Blue Herons that began, and was over, just as quick.

The first instance, there were two Great Blue Herons fishing along a canal at Blackwater NWR.Ā  There was plenty of space between them, or so I thought, when suddenly one charged at the other one.

(click on the first image and you can watch the action as a slide show)



It was over just as quick, with the upset Great Blue Heron succeeding in chasing the other one away to do his fishing elsewhere.

The second instance I saw from my balcony below on the marina pier where an incoming Great Blue Heron was not welcomed.

(click on the first image and you can watch the action as a slide show)


All that awkward jumping and flailing while squawking at each other!Ā  It’s good to know no one was hurt and they all went on their way.



32 thoughts on “Great Blue Herons Sparring Times Two

    • šŸ˜‚ I thought of wrestling too and also a western gunfight with a couple of the stances! Thank you, HJ, it’s fun to see the humor in our feathered friends! šŸ™‚

  1. Territory for whatever reason makes humans and birds alike very aggressive and selfish. It is good to watch migratory birds feeding and sharing territory in harmony together

  2. Terrific sequences of this behavior, Donna! I guess most birds are territorial, but it really is on a major scale with such huge birds! I can almost hear their guttural squawking and feel their massive wings flapping!

    • Thanks Carol! Sometimes it looked like the commotion was in slow-motion, with awkward dance moves, lol. For sure, the noise is something, especially when you can hear those wings!

  3. Donna, I have witnessed that many times on our dock and in our cove and while they make a noisy display they seem to accept a truce as soon as they put a certain amount of distance between themselves. Only they set the rules for what that acceptable distance is! šŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing these great pictures!

  4. A great series of action photos in both instances! Great blue herons are very territorial about their own space, and won’t tolerate the presence of another nearby, even when resting.

  5. My naive side regrets that other species cannot get along either, Donna. It does not justify all the horrible things humans do to one another, but part of it might be determined by our biology. What do you think?

  6. Masterful action captures, Donna! I have seen the old and the young GBH at the marsh do similar sparring, but never managed to get ‘the whole story’ šŸ™‚ Bravo!

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