Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron can be found all over the United States and Southern Canada. It is a handsome bird as you can see from the picture. It is up to 52 inches high, and its wingspan when flying is 70 inches. It can be found in lakes, rivers, canals, ponds, sloughs, marshes, fields and trees that are near water. You will find it walking slowly or standing still hunting for fish, frogs, snakes or insects. It is lightning quick as it grabs its prey. If you watch carefully, you can see large prey go down its neck as it swallows. These birds can also be seen standing in fields looking for mice. A heron in flight is easy to spot. It makes four, hoarse squawks as it takes off. It’s a large, gray bird flying gracefully, flapping its wings slowly with its legs tucked under its body with feet sticking out behind. These birds are wary and will fly off if you try to get close.

The Great Blue Heron is monogamous and lives in colonies of up to 100 birds. It nests in trees near, or over, water. During breeding season, it has several long, black occipital plumes along the back of its crown. It lays 3-5 blue-green eggs, without markings. The male and female both incubate the eggs for 27-28 days. The young remain in the next 65-90 days with both parents feeding them. One brood per year is raised in the north; two broods per year are raised in the south. The Great Blue Heron migrates to the southern states, Mexico, Central and South America; although they live year around in western Oregon.

by Martha Van Natta

Additional information: see Wikpedia - wiki/Great_blue_heron

- - Updated 11/15/2015
- - Updated 2/24/2014