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Great Blue Heron

Image from Outdoor
I'm on a bit of a bird kick this week, so bear with me as I work my way through some of my favorite feathered creatures. Yesterday a huge Great Blue Heron flew over my car, and I was simply inspired. Great Blue Herons are one of the most widespread of all the herons, as well as one of the largest. They can be found in nearly every part of non-arctic North America at some point of the year.

Great Blue Herons don't get their name from being tiny. They have a body length of around 4 feet, and sport a wingspan of over 6 feet. They have long legs, a ruff at the base of the neck, and a black stripe that extends across the side of the head.

Herons are wading birds, and are found living in coastal areas, swamps, ponds, rivers, marshes, etc. They use their long legs to wade and hunt, doing so by standing still and waiting for prey to swim by. When it does so, the Heron strike with it's long, spear-like bills. They also slowly stalk their prey. Great Blue Herons eat all sorts of creatures, including fish, amphibians, lizards, small mammals, insects, and crustaceans. However, they can only eat what they are capable of swallowing, and can choke if trying to do otherwise.

Image from Animal Pictures Archive
Great Blue Herons nest in large colonies, which I would absolutely love to see. Seeing one of these guys in flight is pretty amazing, seeing dozens? Sign me up. Anyway, these colonies consist of seasonally monogamous pairs who build their nests in tall trees. 2-7 eggs are laid, and the chicks are able to fly when they are two months old. Young herons and eggs are preyed upon by ravens, hawks, eagles, and a variety of other birds. Adults can also be preyed upon by larger birds. Great Blue Herons are listed as being of Least Concern, but human encroachment on their habitats could be detrimental in years to come.

Comments

  1. These are my absolute favorite birds -- we have one or two that sometimes visit our neighborhood pond and I love to stop and watch them. Such neat birds. I really enjoyed this post as a result :-)

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