In addition to looking rather prehistoric and perpetually angry, herons have claimed lives from time to time (in self-defense). Unfortunately these people have tended to be Good Samaritans or rehabbers trying to help the birds--I'm unclear on exact dates and stats, but a neighbor of mine whose wife did rehab and who worked for the State DEC would know. The heron typically aims for the face of an attacker--which makes sense, as the head and jaws will be reaching towards the bird, and the eyes are a weak spot--and if the beak plunges into an eye, nothing prevents it from going into the brain. I've heard of people losing eyes to anhingas and loons as well, though I've yet to hear of anyone being killed by either...
I didn't know about herons killing people. I'd be interested to learn more if your neighbor can add any info.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19601009&id=kqpWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=I-gDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2069,3480298I hope the link works.(Dee)
That's a scary thought, being stabbed through the eye and into the brain by a heron. Makes even scarier the fact that there were gigantic herons in prehistoric times, as tall- at least- as adult men. Some of these may have coexisted with humans.
"Rotten Green, England"? That sounded like a joke, but I find there really is such a place in Hampshire.