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Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

The Grey Heron is a migrating bird, even though some colonies, especially in the western part of Holland, don't migrate any longer, as they can find enough food in the big cities, even in the heart of winter!

Sometimes the Grey Heron comes into my garden, stealthy like a thief in the night. It's usually in the early morning hours when the occupants of the house are still sound asleep. The bird may be a big one (almost an entire meter!), it moves so cautiously, that it's not noted by the wildlife in my pond. And it's that wildlife it's after: my fish, frogs and newts! A good remedy though is to surround your pond with a thin fishing-line. The bird cannot see it and so it's very scared when it suddenly feels it!

This bird belongs to the family of Herons (Ardeidae). It has been an infrequent visitor to our garden. Because of the sneaky way it enters the garden, it possibly is a frequent visitor actually. The bird is a resident in Holland. The Grey Heron is 37" and weighs 950 grams. It lives in meadows, rivers, lakes and marshes mostly. It eats fish, frogs, moles and insects. The sexes do not differ from one another. The birds make their nest in trees, usually in a colony. The same trees are used for years on end. The dung of the Herons cause many trees to die. In the nest three or four, seldom five, eggs are laid. The birds breed them for no less than 1 month. After hatching the chicks have to be looked after for some 53 days.

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