Volume 8, Plate 2

Yellow-crowned Heron
Great Heron
American Bittern
Least Bittern

Great Heron

The heron has great powers of wing, flying sometimes very high, and to a great distance; his neck doubled, his head drawn in, and his long legs stretched out in a right line behind him, appearing like a tail, and probably serving the same rudder-like office. When he leaves the sea coast, and traces on wing the courses of the creeks or rivers upwards, he is said to prognosticate rain; when downwards, dry weather. He is most jealously vigilant and watchful of man, so that those who wish to succeed in shooting the heron must approach him entirely unseen, and by stratagem. The same inducements, however, for his destruction, do not prevail here as in Europe. Our sea-shores and rivers are free to all for the amusement of fishing. Luxury has not yet constructed her thousands of fish- ponds, and surrounded them with steel traps, spring guns, and heron snares. In our vast fens, meadows, and sea-marshes, this stately bird roams at pleasure, feasting on the never-failing magazines of frogs, fish, seeds and insects with which they abound, and of which he probably considers himself the sole lord and proprietor. I have several times seen the bald eagle attack and tease the great heron; but whether for sport, or to make him disgorge his fish, I am uncertain.