Monarch Butterflies gather on trees in groups and is known as "Clustering."

Life Stages illustrated of the Monarch Butterfly

Great Blue Heron -Fish are their primary prey, but they also eat insects, rodents, birds, and small reptiles and amphibians. They usually stalk and stab their prey in shallow water or on the ground. Great Blue Herons are often seen stalking meadow voles and shrews in fields. Sometimes they catch insects in flight, including grasshoppers, dragonflies, moths, and butterflies.

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets, and bitterns. Herons and Egrets are medium to large sized wadng birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secrative. Unlike other long necked birds suck as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 61 species world wide, 17 North American species, and 12 Californian species.

Great Blue Herons nest in colonies that often include other species of herons. They usually build nests from 20 to 60 feet up in tall trees. Along coastlines, Great Blue Herons may use cliff ledges and rock outcrops for nest sites. Males gather twigs and small branches that are up to a foot long and pass the material to the females who construct the nest. When first built, the nests are rather flimsy and shallow, but material is added each season as nests are reused, resulting in bulky nests up to 40 inches in diameter. They are lined with finer twigs, grass, and leaves. The female lays three to five light blue eggs.

Nestlings in the rookeries are noisy. When the parents arrive with food, they make sounds that resemble the barking of puppies. For the first several weeks of the nestlings’ lives, at least one parent is present at all times. When threatened, young Great Blue Herons regurgitate over the edge of the nest onto their harassers. After two months they can fly, and by three months they leave the nest.


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