Great Blue Heron
Size: 39-52 inches (99-132 cm) with a wingspan of 70 inches (1.8 m).
Range: Alaska, Quebec, and Nova Scotia south to Mexico and West Indies.
The great blue heron is the largest and most common of the North American herons. It is often seen standing at the edge of a tidal pond watching for small fish, its favorite prey. It also feeds on small mammals, reptiles, and occasionally, birds.
This heron gets its name from its bluish-grey feathers and regal size. It has a huge wingspan of nearly 6 feet. When in flight, its neck folds into an S-shape, and you may hear it makes its call - a hoarse, gutteral squawk.
During the mating season, two feathers on the bird's head become long and thread-like. The great blue heron's eggs are generally light blue in color.
- Sexes similar
- Huge, long-legged, long-necked wader
- Usually holds neck in an "S" curve at rest and in flight
- Long, thick, yellowish bill
- Although great blue herons occasionally nest singly, most breed in localized colonies of up to hundreds of nesting pairs.
- Three to seven eggs are laid during March and April. Eggs hatch after about 28 days, and both parents care for the chicks.
- The primary diet is small fish, which they swallow head first. They also eat frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, crawfish, small birds, rodents, and insects.