On the west coast we see blue herons all the time, sometimes even taking a rest in our backyard. They are an icon of the coastal areas. At low tide the beaches are lined with these elegant birds, high stepping through the shallows and picking up anything that moves (fish, frogs and insects alike). When they spread their wings and take off, the wingspan is always surprisingly impressive.
A Perfect Pair
Herons choose a new mate each year. The female lays about three to five eggs, which she sits on at night. The male sits on them during the day. Once the chicks hatch, the parents continue to share duties: mom watches the nest at night and dad takes the day shift. Pretty good teamwork!
Shall We Dance?
One of the most impressive and unique things about Blue Herons is their courtship dances. These intricate and quite long dances help to cement the relationship. There’s a lot of head-bobbing and displays of feathers (much like many human courtship rituals).
These blue heron acrylic paintings have a background of broad paint strokes, meant to show movement, as the water and sky are both unpredictable on the west coast. Rather than focus on the details, I’ve tried to show the feather's movements, lines, and light catching qualities. These two paintings of Blue Herons are done in acrylic on paper.