Sorry, Were We Keeping You Awake?

Everyone who has ever “caught” a yawn from their cat or dog, please raise your hand.

© Babsje (

Great blue heron yawning.

The yearling great blue heron had been quiently perched on the top branch of the fallen willow at the end of the cove.

He pivoted round, and shifting his weight to his left leg, extended his right wing out and down. At the same time, he stretched his right leg out and down behind, in a big heron stretch.

When he was done stretching, he yawned – just like a human would stretch and then yawn.

He opened his bill, angled his head skyward, extended his neck upwards, wiggled his head slightly from side to side and yawned.

His mouth opened wide, and wider, and then widest, before he closed it, shook his head again, and then tucked his head back down and lowered his neck.

I had never seen a heron yawning, nor any other bird for that matter, and it was amazing and amusing to watch.

And then I caught his yawn.

© Babsje (

Great blue heron yawning from a perch atop a fallen willow.

I wrote the above on the day I caught my first heron yawn back in 2010. Since that day, I’ve observed several other great blue herons yawning, and almost always catch their yawns.

© Babsje (

Great blue heron yawning.

Not only do I catch their yawns real-time while observing the herons in the field, I’ve also been known to yawn while looking at the photos of yawning herons.

Do any of you find an urge to yawn while looking at photos of a yawn progress? If you do, please post a comment. I’d love to hear about your experiences. Do you catch yawns from your cats or dogs? Does anyone else looking at the yawning herons here feel a yawn coming on?

Even preparing the photos in this post today has me yawning.

Although one could attribute today’s yawns to the fast-approaching midnight hour, I prefer to chalk them up to empathy for the herons.

That’s my story theory and I’m sticking to it.


Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Object. Cheri challenged us this week with the word “object.” In this post, the “object” focused on is the yawning expression on the face of the three different great blue herons.


A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2014 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, Kayak Birding

Posted on February 4, 2014, in ardea herodias, Art, Birds, Great Blue Heron, Humor, Nature, Photography, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wild Bird Wednesday, Wildlife Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. the flowers are super cool in this shot!

  2. Well, yes, you made me yawn! Then my pooch and I have a morning ritual where she crawls up on me and yawns, I yawn back and then she yawns… that can go on for quite awhile unless I’m in a hurry to go somewhere. 🙂 I understand smiles can be “catching”, too. 😀

  3. Fun series, makes me smile. Great birds!

  4. You will have me watching for birds yawning now 🙂

  5. amazing, I had no idea they yawned!

  6. HI Can’t say I ever saw a bird yawn bu these shots of your made me smile.

  7. I like it! Very much! 🙂

  8. Ah more proof that yawns are contagious! Great photos of the always fun GBH!

  9. Yes, yawning right now!

  10. being able to yawn because someone else does means your not a sociopath. You have the ability to empathize is something sociopaths cannot do.
    So I everybody is yawning but one person,stay away from them!

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