smuqw’a’ | Heron

great blue heron – smuqw’a’
[Ardea herodias Linnaeus] • The great blue heron is a large, mainly greyish bird that may be mistaken for the sandhill crane. One difference is that the great blue heron flies with its neck folded, unlike the sandhill crane, which flies with its neck extended.

yu hwsuweem’qun’ ’ul’ tthu smuqw’a’ u kwsus yu shtutul’exun’ yu lhalhukw’.
Blue heron flies silently across the water with its wings spread out.

tshwikw’ tthu smuqw’a ’i’ q’iq’uxul’a’lus tthu t’ult’eluw’s.
The heron is grey on his body, and darker grey on his wings.

ni’ st’e ’u kw’ xu’athun tus t’xum sxun’u tthu t’ult’eluw’s.
He has a wingspan of from four to six feet.

tl’eqt tthu tupsums ’i’ ha’ ni’ lhakw’ i’ ni’ hwi’ tl’uy’utth’upsum.
His neck is long and when he flies, he bends up his neck

ha’ ni’ lhakw’ ’i’ ni’ hwi’ thkw’utus tthu tl’eqt sxun’us yu lhi’a’uqwt.
When he flies he straightens out his long legs out behind.

’i’ yath ’uw’ yu sew’q’ ’u kw’ shnem’s kws qp’ilums.
He is always searching for a place to land.

ha’ ni’ shqwusshen’ kws lhxi’lushs ’uwu kws kwuyxthut-s ’al’mutstus kw’ stseelhtun kws m’is hwiwul.
He stands in the water without moving, waiting for a fish to appear.

’i’ nilh tthu tl’eqt thathuns muqsun ni’ shtheq’t-s tthu mumun’lh stseelhtun ’i’ tthuw’ mukw’ ni’ s’i’lhtuns.
And with his long beak, he spears the little fish and eats them whole.

ha’ ni’ tus yuse’lu sil’anum i’ni’ wul thuyuw’t-hwum tthu swuy’qe’ smuqw’a’.
Once they are two years old, the male heron builds a nest.

kwus wulh hwusaay’ thu lelum’s ’i’yelh sus hwi’ teem hwnuts’nuts’qi’num’ kws ’a’ut-s thu slheni’ smuqw’a’.
When his home is ready, he sends out a mating call to attract a female.

kws mi’s ’ewu ’u thu qe’is lelum’s, lhihwus tus lhq’atssus tthu tth’utth’uxals ni’ lheq’utus…
When she come to the new home, she lays 3 to 5 eggs.

nilh thu slheni’ smuqw’a’ ni shts’unets’ ’u tthu tth’utth’uxals ’i’ ni’ hwi’ nilh tthu tsi’tsut ’u kwus snet.
The female watches the eggs during the day and the male parent at night.

nilh shumens tthu sxuyukw’us, spaal’, ’i’ yuxwule’.
Their enemies are raccoons, eagles, and ravens.

’uy’st-hwus tthu sxuyukw’us kws lheyxt-s tthu tth’utth’uxals.
The raccoons like to get their eggs.

thi syaay’th kwsus hwu’ul’ums lhalhukw’ xulhustus tthu hum’e’mum’us.
They work hard flying back and forth to feed the little herons.

ni’ tthu smuqw’a’ ’uwu kwlh nem’ huye’.
The herons don’t leave.

’i’ ni’ kwthu lhthuluq nem’ huy’u nem’ ’u kwthu kw’e’lus tumuhw.
But some migrate to the warmer lands.

’i’ ni’ yu sq’uq’ip kwthu ’upenuws ’uw’ niis sts’uts’ihw.
They go in flocks of 10 birds or more.

tun’a qe’is ’i’ ni’ hwu sqiquq’ kwun’s nem’ t-sut tthu sqw’uleshelus tthu smuqw’a’.
Today there is a protection on them that people cannot approach their nests.

Hul’q’umi’num’ description by Ruby Peter | Sti’tum’at and Carol Louie | t’ut’si’aat.

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