The heron stands in water where the swamp
Has deepened to the blackness of a pool,
Or balances with one leg on a hump
Of marsh grass heaped above a musk-rat hole.
He walks the shallow with an antic grace.
The great feet break the ridges of sand,
The long eye notes the minnow’s hiding place.
His beak is quicker than a human hand.
He jerks a frog across his bony lip,
Then points his heavy bill above the wood.
The wide wings flap but once to lift him up.
A single ripple starts from where he stood.
This photo of a Great Blue Heron in his (or her) spring finery certainly shows why we call bird’s feathery outer wear, their “plumage.”