The heron speaks
The grey and grey blue herons epitomises patience, wisdom, grace and quiet fortitude. And so it comes as a huge surprise when one opens its mouth.
It seems Heronkind's whole purpose in life is to disprove assumption.
You want: A heron sound to match its stately posture. You get: The sound of a pack of coyotes reaching you from prehistory.
The great blue heron sound is the creepiest thing I've ever heard! I thought there was a pack of coyotes tearing something apart in the dark right by my house ( forested area, fields/stream nearby). Was a heron dancing around in the dark and still there the next day - hello, cerise@hc_erise
It threw me off the first time I heard one. I don't know what I was expecting - it's a heron - but I guess my mind thought the sound would match the stately posture. NOPE. - Lisa @Lisavipes
The Lone heron. Is that a "K" or "F" sound?
Book authors feel a responsibility to try and put it into words. Here's some examples describing the grey heron:
- ‘loud harsh fraank’ . - ‘Britain’s Birds’ via Barbara @skylark22BHC1
- ‘A sonorous croak” - Observer’s Book of Birds via Barbara @skylark22BHC1
- 'A single harsh krarnk signals the passage of a lone bird' - Fauna Britannica, Duff Hart-Davies
- '...the “Frarnk” call, a loud far carrying flight call....' - Heron Conservation
- 'the usual call is a loud harsh frank' - RSPB Book of British Birds
- 'some say they sound like they are yelling “Fraunnk” while someone grabs their neck.'
- '...a wide and raucous vocabulary ... the most common a loud krornk ...' - Book of British Birds, Readers Digest
- 'A rather a silent bird, the heron does produce a harsh ‘fraank’ or ‘kaark’ call, usually during flight.' - British Library sound archive
- The common calls are 'kraik, chraïk, gräk, chrät, räh' - Der Graureiher, Gerhard Creutz via @Aesche
- A single "ka" is supposed to express comfortableness - @Aesche
Lover's Talk: Rwo and Arre-arre-ar-ar-ar
- 'o, rwa, rwo, arre-arre-ar-ar-ar' - Der Graureiher, Gerhard Creutz via @Aesche
- The “Rwo” call is the male’s advertising call. - HC
- The “Arre” call is a landing call, rendered “arre, arre”, tending to a clucking on alighting. - HC
- The Snap Display ends in a “Clop”. - HC
- A Greeting Display includes bill-snaps. Bill Clappering occurs among pairs during formation and when in contact. - HC
- ‘croaks, grunts and challenging screams’ - ‘Britain’s Birds’ via Barbara @skylark22BHC1
It's not all Happy Endings
- "The halves of the beak are clapped together in an agitated way (...) when a mating does not come off/work out our when the male heron is rejected by the female.
- The “Go” call, rendered “go, go, go”, is an alarm call.
- The “Oooo” call is an aggressive call, also given in the Forward display. The Oooo call is also used in the Stretch display, becoming a more gurgling “oooo” when given by both sexes in the crouched part of the Stretch - HC
Let the birds speak for themselves
The Heron has featured in the BBC "Tweet of the Day" a few times. Here's a 2 minute introduction to the sounds of heronkind.