Not the same birds
great blue heron Ardea herodias

great blue heron Ardea herodiasGreat blue herons (Ardea herodias) can be found throughout most of the US, and while this page features just two birds, these are not the same birds that can be found in the rest of the country.

Well, okay, it's exactly the same species. But in Florida, their habits are radically different. In several other states I've been in on the Eastern Seaboard, Great Blues are spooky and cautious, and a close approach takes a tremendous amount of patience and probably more than a little luck.

Here, they can be found hanging out in exceptionally close contact to people. To the best of my knowledge, it's because Florida is such a haven for fishing, and much of it takes place with live bait...

Starting to get the picture? Great Blues have overcome their caution and fear of predation in the interests of free handouts, and what isn't offered to them freely, they find they can help themselves to with a little bit of sneakiness. I've seen more than one fisherman chase them off fiercely, since it can be hard to keep an eye on your bait bucket the entire time. But most have come to accept their presence, and keep firmly locked lids on the bait.

My friends here weren't thrilled at my approach, but not overly concerned with it either, and you can see the proximity of the other people on the docks. It should be noted that the longest focal length that I used was 210mm.

Another, more esoteric pic from the docks can be found here.

great blue heron Ardea herodias great blue heron Ardea herodias