Heron , a wading bird of the family ardeidoe, and the old genus ardea (Linn.), including also the bitterns and egrets, treated under their own names. The bill is much longer than the head, rather slender, sharp, and straight, with an emargination at the tip; the wings are long, the first quill nearly as long as the second and third, which are equal and longest; the tail short and even, of 12 stiffened feathers; tarsi long and slender, transversely scaled in front; tibia) lengthened, bare for the lower third or half; outer toe longer than the inner, and united at the base to the middle one; hind toe long, on a level with the others; claws moderate, curved, and acute, the inner edge of the middle one pectinated. The body is rather compressed; the neck is very long, well feathered, and, by a beautiful arrangement in the cervical vertebra1, capable of being turned so that the head may be placed almost at a right angle with it; the bill is a formidable weapon. Herons are found in most parts of the world, migrating to the warmer regions as winter comes on; they are generally seen alone, standing in swamps, pools, and shallow rivers, waiting for their prey, with the long neck drawn down between the shoulders; but no sooner does a reptile or a fish appear than the bill is darted forth and the animal immediately swallowed.

They do not seize fish with their feet; the serrated middle claw is for removing from the bill the sticky down which adheres to it after cleansing the plumage. - The common heron of Europe (A. cinerea, Linn.), celebrated in old times as the bird which afforded the principal sport in falconry, is of a bluish ash color, with a black crest on the hind head, and the fore part of the neck white with black dots; the shoulder of the wings and the primaries black; a naked space around the eyes. Its food consists of fish, frogs, aquatic insects and mol-lusks, mice, moles, and similar small animals. The nest is generally on a high tree in the vicinity of a river. The flight is sometimes very high, and is performed with the legs hanging behind, and the head and neck resting on the back. It makes at times a harsh and loud scream; when taken young, it becomes so far domesticated as to associate with domestic fowl; though a royal bird in respect to game, its flesh is unfit for food. It is distributed over most parts of the old world; among some eastern nations the crests of the males are highly esteemed as ornaments. - The purple heron of Europe (A. purpurea, Linn.) is very handsome, with the elegant shape of a heron and the rufous and purplish tints of the bitterns. - The Louisiana heron (A. Ludoviciana, Wils.; demiegretta, Baird) is about 27 in. long, with an extent of wings of 3 ft.; the bill is very slender; the head with a long crest, the feathers, with those of the neck and upper back, lanceolate; like the egrets, it has the feathers of the lower back plumose and lengthened; the color above is slaty blue on the head, neck, and exposed upper parts; lower back, rump, under parts, and middle line of throat, white; occiput and back of neck purplish; bill brownish black above and at tip; the female is like the male.

From its beauty of form and plumage and grace of motion, Audubon calls this heron the " lady of the waters;" it is found on the coast of the southern Atlantic and gulf states, never far inland; it keeps in company and sometimes breeds in the same places with egrets and other herons; it is not very shy, and its flight is irregular and swifter than that of any other species. The nests are generally within a few feet of the ground, on low bushes, and very close to each other, made of small dried sticks crossed in various ways, flat, and each containing three eggs; these are about l 1/2 by 1 1/4 in., nearly elliptical, of a pale greenish blue, thin, and smooth; the period of incubation is 21 days; as of most herons, the flesh of the young, before they leave the nest, is considered good eating. - The snowy heron (A. candidissima, Gmel.; genus garzetta, Bo-nap.) is about 23 in. long, with an extent of wings of 38 in.; the head is ornamented with a full occipital crest of feathers with hair-like webs, and similar plumes on the lower part of the throat; dorsal plumes reaching to the end of the tail. The color is pure white; the bill black, yellow at base; legs black.

It is found on the coast of the middle and southern states, and across the continent to California; it is a constant resident in Florida and Louisiana, and is occasionally seen as far north as Massachusetts. They breed in large communities with other herons and with grakles, in a similar manner to the preceding species; the mangroves of Florida are favorite places for their nests; the eggs are three, about 1 5/8 by 1 1/4 in., broadly elliptical, and pale bluish green; both sexes incubate, and the young in Florida leave their nest about the middle of May, and a month or two later further north; both eggs and young are destroyed by crows and turkey buzzards. They resort to the borders of salt marshes, and feed on shrimps, small fish, crustaceans, snails, lizards, frogs, and aquatic insects; in the pursuit of their prey they run quickly through the shallows, throwing up their wings in a rapid and graceful manner; when wounded they defend themselves with the bill with great courage. - The great blue heron (A. herodias, Linn.), generally called blue crane, is 4 ft. long to end of tail, with an extent of wings of C ft., and the bill 5 1/2 in. with a gape of 7 1/2. The color above is bluish ash, with the edges of wings and tibia) rufous; neck cinnamon brown, head black, frontal patch white; below-black, with broad white streaks on the belly; lower tail coverts white, middle line of throat the same with black and rufous streaks; bill greenish above, dusky yellow at the base; the quills black, and the tail bluish slate.

There is considerable variation in size and plumage, according to ago and habitat. It is found throughout the United States and the West Indies, but most abundantly in the low lands bordering on the Atlantic coast. It is one of the hardiest of the family, bearing the cold of a New England winter; it is exceedingly difficult to approach, from the acuteness of its hearing and vision, except in close woods; it feeds at all hours of the day, and even in clear nights. It begins to breed from the beginning of March to the middle of June, according to latitude; during the love season they associate in pairs, being rather solitary at all other times; several pairs sometimes form a community, in swamps, pine barrens, and localities several miles from water, but especially in the vicinity of rice fields, and in the tops of cypress trees. The eggs, three in number, are 2 1/2 by 1 1/2 in., of a dull bluish white; the male and female sit alternately, feeding each other, and are remarkably affectionate to the young; the flesh of the young is tolerably good. Its food consists of fish, reptiles, birds, small quadrupeds, and large insects; it strikes its prey through the body, as near the head as possible, killing often by beating it against the ground; it is exceedingly voracious.

This bird is capable of inflict-ing severe wounds with its bill, the more dangerous that it generally aims at the eyes; it has been seen to chase the fish hawk, and force it to yield up its prey. The flight is high, majestic, and long sustained. The weight of a full-grown bird is from 6 to 8 lbs.; the intestine is about 9 ft. long, not thicker than a swan's quill. - The great white heron (A. occidentalis, Aud.) is more than 4 ft. long, with an extent of wings of nearly 7; the bill 6 in.; the weight about 7 lbs. The color is pure white; the lengthened occipital feathers do not form a crest. It is found in southern Florida and in Cuba. This is the largest of the herons, and has the purest white plumage. It is very shy, breeding among the keys on the Florida coast, to which it resorts year alter year ; two nests are rarely seen near each other, though nests of other species are often on the same bush ; it begins to lay about the 1st of February. It lays three eggs, 2 3/4 by 1 2/3 in., thick-shelled, of a plain light bluish green; both sexes incubate, for about 30 days.

It is more solitary than the preceding species, except on the feeding grounds; the walk is majestic, and the flight firm and regular; the sand bars and flats on which they feed are often far from their roosting places, and are rarely left until the water reaches as high as their body; the position, when roosting, is generally on one foot. There is a great enmity between this and the preceding species, and the former will pursue, kill, and swallow the young of the latter whenever an opportunity offers, even though other favorite food be in abundance. - The blue heron (A. coerulea, Linn.; genus florida, Baird) is '22 in. long, with an extent of wings of 33 ; the bill is about 3 in., and the weight 9 oz. The bill is blue, slender, and very sharp; the prevailing tint of the bird is slate blue, with the head and neck bluish purple; legs black; the young are white, sometimes spotted with blue. The top of the head is moderately crested, and the scapulars greatly elongated. It is found in the southern Atlantic states and about the gulf of Mexico, and has been seen in New York ; it associates with the white and Louisiana herons, roosting in the evergreens of the keys ; it is very shy, and its flight is swifter than that of any except the A. Ludoviciana. The eggs are 1 3/4 by 1 1/4 in., of the same color as those of the snowy heron. - The green heron has been alluded to under Bittern. The sun herons of the warmer parts of South America belong to the genus eurypyga (Hliger), characterized by a long, slender, straight bill, bent and emargin-ated at the tip ; long and ample wings ; long, broad, and slightly rounded tail.

The best known species ( E. Julias, Pall.) is about as large as a small grouse, with a long, thin neck, spreading tail, and comparatively short legs; the plumage is varied with bands and lines of brown, fulvous red, gray, and black, resembling the distribution of colors on some of the larger moths; it feeds on small fry and aquatic insects. It is called "little peacock" in Cayenne ; its habits resemble those of the snipes more than of the herons. (See Night Heron.)

European Heron (Ardea cinerea).

European Heron (Ardea cinerea).

Louisiana Heron (Ardea Ludoviciana).

Louisiana Heron (Ardea Ludoviciana).

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias).

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias).

Great White Heron (Ardea occidentalis).

Great White Heron (Ardea occidentalis).

Heron #1

Heron , or Hero (Gr. ' Heron 0800458 a philosopher and mathematician of Alexandria, who flourished in the latter part of the 3d century B. C. He was the inventor of several ingenious machines, among which are the fountain called by his name, in which a jet of water is kept playing by means of condensed air ; a steam engine, on the principle of what is called Barker's mill, in which the boiler is caused to revolve round a vertical axis by jets of steam issuing from lateral holes in the arms with which it is provided ; and a double forcing pump used for a fire engine. Heron wrote several works on mechanical and scientific subjects, of which only fragments remain; the most valuable is his Heron 0800459 or treatise on pneumatics, the best edition of which is that published at Paris in 1693, in the Veterum Ma-thematicorum Opera.