There seems to be ample fish in Golden Gate Park’s Stow Lake for the Blue Heron parents who are feeding their young, now just days away from fledging. Both parents feed the young, regurgitating their catch into the waiting bills. The young are capable of flight at about 60 days and depart the nest between 65-90 days.
Since the Double Crested Cormorants are competing for Stow’s fish, Great Blue Herons are resorting to their other favorite prey: rodents and gophers. Most often, Great Blues forage by standing still or walking very slowly in shallow water waiting for fish to swim near, then striking with a rapid thrust of their bill. They use this same ritual-like dance in fields as they patiently ferret out the little critters just below the surface of the ground.
Often mistakenly called a “crane,” the Great Blue is the largest heron in North America. You might spot one of these magnificent birds, four feet tall, standing silently along inland rivers or lakeshores or flying high overhead with slow wingbeats, its head hunched back onto its shoulders. It thrives around all kinds of waters from subtropical mangrove swamps and desert rivers to the coastline of southern Alaska.
The Great Blue is a symbol, guide and metaphor for self-reflection. If it has flown into our lives today via Native American medicine cards or by literally crossing our path she is urging us to dive deeply into the “watery world of feelings to seek our truth” (Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams, p. 217). In Native American wisdom, the term “medicine” refers to anything that strengthens our connection to the Great Mystery and to all life.
Our brother and sister creatures relay through their life patterns messages of healing and empowerment. “Heron’s medicine shows us how to meet the challenges of our personal weaknesses and how to continue developing the skills that lead to inner strength and certainty of purpose” (ibid.). After stillness and silence, like the Great Blue, we can dive into our own feelings and life to discover the power in our spiritual essence.
As I walked towards the DeYoung Museum a Great Blue walked in front of me less than 5 feet away. She stopped, arched her neck, and then, with a quick extension of her neck, thrust her beak into the grassy ground. I could hear the sound of her beak as it passed though the firm soil. Retracting her neck she pulled out a small gopher. Boo-hoo, no camera in hand!
Herons represent self – reliance, stability, tactfulness and careful forethought. Like the Great Blue you may achieve much success through your persistent efforts. Alternatively, dreaming of a heron could signify your willingness to explore and delve into your subconscious.
So I am supplying these Great Blue Heron images for your viewing to inspire that kind of exploration.