Great Blue Heron - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Great Blue Heron - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Great Blue Heron - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Great Blue Heron - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Great Blue Heron
Ardea herodias

Heron-like Birds
Heron Family (Ardeidae)

Size: Length: 125-135 cm Wingspan: 180 cm

Description: This very tall bird is rarely mistaken for anything else. Look for a long-legged wader with an equally long neck. The body has a blue-gray tinge, with a light underbelly. The legs are yellow with rusty thighs and some black on the upper legs. The neck is blue-gray, and light with dark speckles towards the front. There is also a ruffle of loose feathers at the base of the neck. The head has a yellow-orange beak, which cheeks, and usually a black crest.

In flight, they let their legs hang extended, but unlike cranes, Cranes fly with the neck extended

Similar Species: None

Range: The great blue heron is common throughout the southern part of Canada, and most of the United States. While it is an uncommon nester in the Canadian Rockies, it becomes much more prevalent throughout the American Rockies.

Habitat: They are found in and around water. They need shallow water with a diversity of aquatic life. Preferred locations include marshes, ponds, shallow lakes, rivers and tidal flats.

Diet: Great blue herons are expert anglers, using its sharp beak to spear fish, frogs, minnows and just about anything else that moves. They are a versatile feeder that will take advantage of whatever their cautious stalking reveals. You can watch them wade slowly through the shallows, and then suddenly their head shoots forward to pick up some unsuspecting prey. Usually, it is downed in a single swallow.

Nesting: Herons are colony nesters, with large numbers of birds nesting very close to one another. The nest is quite simply, a platform of large twigs built towards the top of a large tree. They will often use the same nest year after year, repairing it each season. The female lays between 3 and 5 pale greenish-blue eggs, which will hatch after 28 days. Both parent take turns incubating and feeding the altricial young.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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