Welcome to all "Birders"!
If you are an avid bird watcher or just an amateur, our birding page has offerings just for you! Check this page for recent sightings, our bird of the season and links for adults and children.
5-Star Grant Supports Bird Habitats
Exciting news! Atlanta Audubon Society has been awarded a grant from Southern Company and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. AAS will be partnering with Blue Heron Nature Preserve, South Fork Conservancy, NFWF, and The National Audubon Society to create two bird-friendly communities along urban tributaries of the Chattahoochee River watershed. Our work will include removing invasive plant species, adding native plants on 5 acres of bird habitat, and conducting an inventory of birds that will help inform future conservation decisions. [READ MORE]
Do You Have Photos To Share?
Throughout the year a variety of birds either make BHNP their home or refresh themselves during migrations. We will be sharing sightings of species and/or photos sent in by neighbors and birders.
We invite you to submit your stories and/or images of birds (on or off the preserve) to our webmaster for inclusion on this page. Please include the species name, date and time of day sighted and location. Images can be provided in any format or size.
On Friday, 5/8/0215, this blue heron was rescued from an injury by a turtle! Photo by Melanie Furr from AWARE.
On Sunday (11/10/13), we had lots of aquatic visitors at Blue Heron including a beautiful family of geese and mallards. Some of the birds were having a wonderful Sunday snooze on one of the pond's small islands in the sunshine.
"This Cooper's Hawk nearly landed on my 4th Floor balcony!" Photo by Gail Fore
"Watching for a fish dinner to float through this rocky passageway in the evening." Blue Heron photo by Nancy Jones.
Blue Heron fishing - Spring 2013.
Here is a photo from 2012, a Blue Heron at our pond. Courtesy of Libba Shortridge.
Blue Heron Feather?
This photo is (we think) a blue heron feather found floating in our pond on Saturday, 6/9/12. Jamie Hawk at Atlanta Audubon seemed to concur that it is most likely a primary flight feather from a Great Blue Heron.
Hot news of the day at Blue Heron! We had 5 migratory blue wing teal ducks here today (3/29/13) on the Roswell Road pond. Barbara, who is an Audubon birder, identified them and said they have probably stopped off on their way north for the summer.
About Great Blue Herons
Great blue herons are majestic birds of prey that can be found in both fresh water and salt water environments throughout much of the United States, parts of southern Canada and into the Caribbean. They were once victims of hunting (for their feathers) and have lost some of their wetland habitats, but are doing well in areas where there is suitable habitat and minimal disturbance.
The Blue Heron Nature Preserve has been home to a number of blue herons, which like to stand or wade in the pond or creek looking for fish in the water, or for amphibians, reptiles, insects, small mammals or even other birds that may be within striking distance. At about 4-feet tall, great blue herons are easy to identify, though can be hard to spot when they stand motionless and blend into the background.
As impressive as is their patient waiting for prey and quick striking once they spy something catchable, they are perhaps most majestic if you see one in flight, with its massive size, long legs trailing, and wide wings slowly flapping. [SEE PHOTOS...]
For detailed information about the life history of great blue herons, photos, videos, sound samples, and other information, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a great source of information.
For the basics, visit: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great_Blue_Heron/lifehistory
To see a live Blue Heron bird cam,visit:
Documents and Links of Interest
10 Avian Species Common To The Preserve:
Great Blue Heron
38-54” long with a 6’ wingspan, Year-round Resident. The largest of herons often feeds at the pond, eating any creature it can swallow. The lightning-quick jab of its dagger-like bill is dangerous; so, do not pick up any injured heron. Nesting can occur singly but is usually in large mixed colonies on relatively inaccessible islands or peninsulas.
10” long, Year-round Resident. Grayish upper parts and black head contrast with reddish-brown breast and pot belly. Eating primarily earthworms in warm weather and fruit in winter, they run rapidly, pause to check for prey and predators, and then run a few more steps. Tiffany has trademarked the name of “robin egg blue” for its shopping bags and gift boxes.
10” long, Year-round Resident. With a long, slender torso, tail and legs, they are grayish above and whitish below with a dark narrow line through the eye. These omnivores are often found near the intersection of mowed grass and pavement. Highly territorial, they dive bomb dogs, cats – even humans. The gifted songsters can imitate anything—even car alarms—repeating phrases three or more times.
8 ½” long, Year-round Resident. The hood, back, wings, and tail are black for males but brown for females. Both have white bellies with rusty flanks. They nest and feed on or near the ground—exposing insects, beetles, and spiders by grasping leaf litter and then hopping backward with it. Listen for its call of “tow hee.”
7” long, Year-round Resident. With drab upper parts that are darkest at the head, they frequently bob their tails up and down and issue an insistent call of “phee-bee.” Phoebes dine mainly on flying insects caught in midair and berries plucked in winter. As they often nest under bridges, they are seen near Rickenbacker Bridge. If you remain motionless and quiet, our curious phoebe might even light on your head or shoulder.
6.5” long, Year-round Resident. Titmice, whose name means “small bird,” are grey above, whitish below with a black smudge on the forehead and prominent black eyes. To line their nests, titmice pluck hair from live hosts –both animals and people. They eat insects, but also seeds from feeders, often caching them in cracks.
4 ¾” long, Year-round Resident.Known for their call of chick-a-dee-dee-dee, it is greyish above, whitish below with a black cap and bibs contrasting with white cheeks. The sharp little bills of these acrobatic cavity nesters glean insects, spiders and their eggs. They also frequent birdfeeders, where higher-ranking birds bump those of lesser status.
8.7” long, Year-round Resident. Like the robes of Catholic cardinals, males are bright red; females are greyish-tan. With powerful bills for cracking seeds, they are common at feeders but also eat fruits, beetles, bugs, grasshoppers, moths and ants. These excellent songsters are so territorial that they will attack their own reflections in glass for hours at a time.
6” long, Year-round Resident. These streaked, stocky sparrows have rounded heads and tails and often a large central breast spot. Watch for them flitting between tall weeds and low branches in the field near the Community Garden. The males sing while perched at shoulder level, pumping their tails with each wing beat. To uncover food, they scratch the ground.
9.25” long, Year-round Resident. The only North American woodpeckers whose entire heads and necks are red, they nest in the dead tree near the Community Garden. The diet is primarily botanical, but they also drill for beetles and even catch flying insects in mid-air. Not singers, they drum to establish a territory or attract a mate.