Evolution, Behavior, and Ecology
Animal Behavior Observation Example
Little Blue Heron (
About 60 cm tall with a wingspread of about 100 cm. The body proportions
are about 1/3 head and neck, 1/3 body, and 1/3 legs and feet. The body and wing feathers are a
dark, steely blue, with a patch of dark, reddish-purple feathers on the back of the head and upper
part of the neck. There is a light patch around the eye. Some individuals had some white feathers
in patches on the wings. The beak is gray and the legs and feet are dark gray, nearly black. The
beak is straight, pointed, and about 8 cm long. The legs are long and straight and the feet have
three long toes in front and one in back. The wings are relatively short, broad, and rounded.
When standing the body is held above the legs, without leaning forward. The body, neck, and
head are usually angled forward when walking.
Sunday, 31 August 2003, 1:45 pm; Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, 20 km
northwest of Sherman, Grayson Co., TX. Hagerman NWR is on the upstream part of the Big
Mineral Arm of Lake Texoma.
General habitat type:
The "oil jetties" area on the east side of Big Mineral Creek, bottomland
which consists of a series of ponds or mudflats separated from the lake and from each other by
interconnecting raised jetties and roads that lead to a series of wellheads. Whether these areas are
ponds or mudflats depends on the level of the lake; most were ponds when I made these
observations. The substrate is dense, silty mud that is typical of Blackland Prairie. The water in
the ponds was relatively shallow and quite turbid. There were a few buttonbushes and willows
alongside the jetties and a lot of giant ragweed, and some of the mudflats contained a dense stand
of lotus (an aquatic plant), but there was no aquatic vegetation in the lake itself. The ponds with
the lotus had areas of open water that was not covered by the plants.