Great Blue Heron and Photographer Don’t Let Their Broken Legs Get Them Down (Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 18)

Great blue heron wings her way across the lake. © Babsje (

Great blue heron wings her way across the lake – babsjeheron

As they say in show business, break a leg…

Look closely at the Great Blue Heron’s left leg. Do you see the extra bend between knee and ankle that’s not supposed to be there?

The origin of the expression “break a leg” is in dispute. It may harken back to the ancient Greeks or to 19th or 20th century performances. Whichever it may be, both this Great Blue Heron and I took the expression far too literally.

For the Heron, it was the tibia that broke. In my case, the fibula and calcaneus, aka heel bone. Heading into month seven on crutches wearing an orthopedic walking boot, I am grateful for expert medical care, yet long to be back on two feet and able to fit my foot into a kayak and get back out with the Herons.

That Heron graced the lake for years afterward without benefit of any medical care.

A fledgling great blue in South Carolina, however, underwent successful surgery for a leg fracture. Dr. Biascoechea at the vet clinic inserted pins in the Heron’s leg. The photos there are heartwarming. I love happy Heron stories.

The always-inspiring Lens Artists – Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya – focus on the “details” this week. Only by focusing on the Heron’s left leg after downloading this photo did I notice the broken leg. I didn’t see it at all when photographing out in the field.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 146: Focusing on the Details .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 146: Focus on the Details .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 146: Focusing on the Details .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 146: Focusing on the Details .

Last week, the Lens Artists’ theme was “Getting to Know You.” My blog series titled “Quirky Artist Stories” offer some glimpses behind the viewfinder. (But as I always say, its always about the Great Blue Herons, not about me.)

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 145: Getting to Know You .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 145: Getting to Know You .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 145: Getting to Know You .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 145: Getting to Know You .

And thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy.

From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick.

Many of the photos in the exhibit were shown for the first time, and do not appear on the blog. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.

Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is. And the Herons? Their place is near the water, but also on the gallery walls and my blog. How else can I share them with you?

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.

During September and October, 2018, the Great Blue Herons were featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick

Posted on May 3, 2021, in Art, daily prompt, Fun with Herons, Great Blue Heron, Humor, Nature, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Thanks so much for your share, I super appreciate it.

  2. Even after I saw your title Babsje, I didn’t see the break. It was only after you told us where to look that I noticed it. And yet you saw it right away – you rock! Sorry to hear about your own break – the heel is a really tough one. Hope you’re back on your unfettered feet again soon.

    • Thanks so much for your kind comment and well wishes, Tina! Hoping to be kicking up my heels by summer’s end m Yes, you’re correct that the heel fracture is a big deal break. (I don’t recommend it t9 anyone.) I said I would do anything to avoid surgery for it, which would involve pins that are not as delicate-looking as the ones used to repair that fledgling in South Carolina (at the link in my post). Amazing how they could mend that Heron a long slender leg. Best, Babsje

      • Good luck on summer’s end Babsje. My husband had to wear a boot for about 3 weeks for a foot injury and it threw off his hip. They’re really heavy!

        • Thanks Tina. Fingers and toes crossed. I can echo your husband’s boot experience – the hip on my good leg is not happy at all because of the way the boot has changed my hair. Owie. Hope he’s good as new now. Best, Babsje

  3. Congrats on your showing Babsje! I bet everyone loved your shots!
    Any time any animal is injured there is a chance of it not surviving? You on the other hand most certainly will! Get well soon,no point in you both being “Blue”.

    • Oh wow John! That’s quite an impressive tibia. Skiing injury from your boot not releasing? Are you able to get back on the slopes at all? How long was your recovery? Also I really enjoyed the many photos in your post of Lapham’s Quarterly in various locations. Clever. Best, Babsje

  4. Babsje, may healing wings spread over you.

    • Hi Gary. Many thanks for your thoughtful healing wishes. I like your wings analogy. I hope your own broken bone continues to mend. Best, Babsje

  5. Such a remarkable capture! The wings are right above the water. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • Glad you like this Heron, Amy. Thanks for your kind words. It was a lucky day because that Heron took off from a spot on the shore very close by. An engineer friend once explained the aerodynamics about why birds fly so close to the water’s surface: it is more efficient for them because each wing beat pushes the air downward towards the surface and that air reflects back upwards and creates more lift for the bird. (I’m sure an internet search will explain it better but i can’t read now with dilated pupils from an eye doctor visit this afternoon. Apologies for any typos.) Look closely at the Herons’s left wing tip. Do you see the damaged flight heathers? My guess is that the wing tip damage and broken leg happened in the same incident, whatever it was. Anyway, thanks again for letting me participate in the Lens Artists challenges. Best, Babsje

  6. I’m hoping you have a complete recovery, Babsje. That’s a long time to be in a boot! As for the image, I love those surprises we find when we look at a shot and see the details. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Hi Patti. Thanks for your speedy recovery wishes. You’re right – a long time to be in an ortho boot. Being in Massachusetts, winter was a good season for hunkering down and off my feet. 😊 But good news – I’ve just been given the ok to take it off for a couple of hours each day to practice walking, with physical therapy assessment at the end of this month. Light at the end of the tunnel. I’m glad you like this Heron and also that you and the other Lens Artists keep the creative challenges coming! Best, Babsje

  7. Well, great shot, and I hope you will be mending too, Babsje. Soon. And off in the kayak!

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