Great Blue Heron: Preening

Great Blue Heron: Preening
2019

The Great Blue Heron—Ardea herodias. The genus name for the heron, Ardea, is derived from an ancient town in Italy and a legend that comes from it. In his Metamorphosis, Ovid writes, “When savage fires had consumed [Ardea], and all its houses were buried in hot ash, a bird flew out, a kind no one had ever seen before. It rose up from the middle of the ruins, beating the embers with its flapping wings. Everything that fits a captured city was in that bird—in its cry, its leanness, and its pallor. In it the city’s name lives on, for people call it ardea, or heron, and every time it beats its wings, the people of Ardea mourn their fate.”