|A Great Blue Heron with a broken bill, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 6/13/2012.|
|The same Great Blue with a broken bill, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 6/13/2012|
|A close up of its broken bill, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 6/13/2012|
|Another Great Blue heron, RCSP, IL: 7/16/2012.|
If the broken bill condition has been with this bird for some time, I am wondering how it has adapted its hunting skills in order to survive. It seems to me that it would have to jab deeper in the water to catch its prey in the back half of its bill, instead of a normal Heron who could nab a fish with the slimmer and pointed end of the bill. I am also wondering that if indeed this injured bird has been a successful hunter, what kind of prey it has been able to capture. It probably cannot probe into the mud at the bottom of a pond to catch crustaceans, but it might be able to grab onto slower prey such as turtles or larger fish such as catfish that it might be able to hold onto with its back half of its bill.
This is the only time I have seen this particular handicapped Heron, but I haven't been out to Rock Cut State Park much during the summer. Now that it's three months later, it would be interesting to find this guy again and what kind of condition it might be in.